2009/2020: Jindabyne (New South Wales). Ecoli, Fluoride, Turbidity

Jindabyne boil water alert 30 October 2020 – 9 November 2020

Poor raw water quality – recent wet weather conditions have caused increased turbidity making drinking water in the Jindabyne, Leesville, Lakewood, The Station Resort and High Country unsafe.

Jindabyne (New South Wales) – E.coli

“In New South Wales, contamination by E.coli and Lead were the most significant health-related non-compliances recorded (Table 4). The incidences of Total Coliform contamination may indicate an inability to maintain a chlorine residual, inadequate treatment, or potential re-contamination of treated water supplies. During 2007-08, 22 “boil water” alerts were issued in NSW over the 25 months to June 2008 (Armstrong and Gellatly 2008). Boil water alerts
indicate a suspected or confirmed microbial contamination. The popular ski holiday destinations of Jindabyne and Smiggin Holes experienced a highly publicised microbial contamination incident in 2009. Approximately 120 guests became ill as a direct result of contaminated drinking water at Smiggin Holes, while a sewer overflow into Jindabyne’s
drinking water supply went un-detected for three days”. P15 Review of Regional Water Quality and Security Volume 1. Infrastructure Australia October 2010.

December 12 2013 – Jindabyne (New South Wales) – Fluoride

Snowy River Shire: Fluoride influx

Snowy River Shire Council discovered last week that fluoride levels in local drinking water were almost double the guideline amount.

An electrical fault is suspected to have been the culprit but until this is proven the dosing plant will remain switched off.

The overly-high fluoride level was discovered by council on Monday December 2; but it only issued information about the incident to the Summit Sun last Friday afternoon.

The high level was found during routine daily monitoring. Drinking water delivered to Jindabyne was found, at its highest concentration, to have reached 2.8 milligrams per litre. The Australian Drinking Water Guideline is 1.5mg/L. According to council, this level has been set to protect against mottling of teeth by long-term exposure to high concentrations of fluoride. By Thursday evening the level had dropped significantly, down to 1.7mg/L.

For context and perspective, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for the highest level of fluoride allowed in public water supplies is 4.0mg/L, council said.

Council deactivated the fluoride dosing plant on Monday December 9 and added water without fluoride into the supply to dilute the concentration of fluoride.

Council anticipated that the level would be back within the Australian guidelines during last Friday.

It said that NSW Health and the NSW Office of Water had been kept informed of the situation.

Council has initiated an investigation into the cause of the incident, suspecting an electrical fault in the dosing plant allowed fluoride to enter the supply in the absence of water flow.

NSW Health has confirmed that the levels of fluoride in Jindabyne’s drinking water during this period did not present any short or long-term health effects to anyone, including babies, who consumed the water.

Not all properties in Jindabyne were affected. Only properties on Thredbo Terrace, the Old Shopping Town Precinct and on the lake side of

Kosciuszko Road are supplied from the system affected.

For further information contact
Gnai Ahamat, Manager Water and Waste Water,
or Yvonne Menere, Manager Regulation and Compliance, on 6451 1195.


“Fluoride occurs naturally in seawater (1.4 mg/L), soil (up to 300 parts per million) and air (from volcanic gases and industrial pollution). Naturally occurring fluoride concentrations in drinking water depend on the type of soil and rock through which the water drains. Generally, concentrations in surface water are relatively low (<0.1–0.5 mg/L), while water from deeper wells may have quite high concentrations (1–10 mg/L) if the rock formations are fluoride-rich.” 2011 ADWG. Health Guideline: 1.5mg/L