2009 March + 2022 – Beauty Point, Wallaga Lake (New South Wales) – E.coli, Turbidity

Bega Valley Shire Council issues boil-water notice from Brogo to Bermagui

11 Jan 22 (aboutregional.com.au)

The combination of heavy rainfall and summer visitors to southeast NSW has led to Bega Valley Shire Council issuing a boil-water notice for users connected to the Brogo-Bermagui water supply.

Boiling water before use for drinking, food preparation, teeth cleaning and ice-making is now considered essential for water users in Quaama, Cobargo, Bermagui, Beauty Point, Fairhaven, Wallaga Lake, Wallaga Lake Heights, Wallaga Lake Koori Village and Akolele.

Water issues are not new to Bega Valley communities, but they have been somewhat mitigated in recent times by the temporary water treatment facility in Brogo.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s water and sewer services manager, Chris Best, said the Brogo facility is struggling to manage the current increase in demand, and his team has been “working around the clock” since heavy rain on Thursday, 6 January, 2022.

“With more visitors in the area during the summer break, it has reached the point where the treatment plant can no longer cope with the higher demand,” he said.

“The temporary plant has reduced the need for boil-water notices since introducing flocculation technology, but even this has its limits which is why we are in the process of constructing a permanent treatment and filtration plant at the same site.”

Mr Best said that when the permanent facility is up and running – expected in late 2022 – the Brogo-Bermagui water supply will no longer require boiling after heavy rain events.

“We have previously avoided boil-water notices by carting water from our southern supply, however given the increase in usage at this time of year, this is currently not possible,” he said.

“Our water team will continue with a regular program of testing water from the Brogo River source, which is known for high turbidity levels, particularly following the Black Summer bushfires which heavily impacted the catchment.”

All other water supply in the Bega Valley Shire is currently unaffected.

2 March 2009 – Beauty Point Wallaga Lake (New South Wales) – E.coli

From a total of 1,140 samples, 2 E.coli detections occurred from 1 Jan 2004 to 31 Mar 2014.
Detection dates: 26 Nov 2007 and 2 Mar 2009 at sample sites 612 and 714 in Wallaga Lake
Koorie Village and Beauty Point respectively. In both instances 1 cfu/100mL was detected.
Re‐sampling was undertaken with no E.coli detected.

Thermotolerant coliforms are a sub-group of coliforms that are able to grow at 44.5 ± 0.2°C. E. coli is the most common thermotolerant coliform present in faeces and is regarded as the most specific indicator of recent faecal contamination because generally it is not capable of growth in the environment. In contrast, some other thermotolerant coliforms (including strains of Klebsiella, Citrobacter and Enterobacter) are able to grow in the environment and their presence is not necessarily related to faecal contamination. While tests for thermotolerant coliforms can be simpler than for E. coli, E. coli is considered a superior indicator for detecting faecal contamination…” ADWG