2012: Pratten (Qld). Copper, Colour, Taste & Odour

Pratten (Qld), Call for quality water supply



WHEN water first rushes out of the taps at Brett Reid’s home, it’s a murky brown colour.

If it’s warmed up – like when the Pratten resident does the washing up or takes a shower – it takes on a musky, unpleasant smell.

It’s the same bore water that has forced Mr Reid to replace his shower heads every six months and buy a new washing machine each year.

Mr Reid has been lobbying council for the past couple of years to get a better quality water supply for the small community.

While he concedes it’s never going to be the same as town water, he said a better filter system needed to be installed to stop a lot of the dirt and grit from getting through.

“It’s absolutely shocking,” he said.

“We’re in a flood plain and after the floods it was black but it’s gotten a lot better since then.

“The sulphur and copper just eats away at the taps and shower heads and my neighbour lost his hot water system.”

Another set of Mr Reid’s neighbours have settled on boiling their water before giving it to their young children, such is their concern with the quality of water.

Mr Reid said he had resorted to hiring washing machines, after the water clogged the pipes and burnt the electrical wiring in three previous ones he owned.

His complaints have been scoffed at by a fellow local, who said all of the residents were “jolly lucky to have water”.

“Surely they’ve got tanks on the houses and tank water to drink and to cook with,” the resident said.

“It always amazes me how quick people are to complain about things.”

Councillor Vic Pennisi said Southern Downs council had certainly “been made aware” of the residents’ water concerns.

“I personally collected a sample of water to give to the director (of Engineering Services Peter See) and asked for feedback,” he said.

“It’s now in the hands of the director, and he’ll tell us the findings.”

Southern Downs Regional Council water and sewerage manager Gary Palmer said council regularly ran flushing and maintenance programs on the bore.

“We regularly test water in Pratten to ensure the water supply meets Australian drinking water standards,” he said.

“However, residents are always going to have a higher mineral content in bore water than above-ground water.”

Water is pumped from the bore into a small treatment plant and into 10 reticulated lines to residents.

Mr Palmer said the filter was back-washed every two days.

Any discolouration in the water supply, he added, would be a result of sediment in the lines.

“Council has recently conducted inspection and testing of water throughout the system, and has flushed out a number of the lines, with the water becoming clear after flushing,” he said.

“In Pratten, some of the lines, particularly those at the end of the lines, cannot easily be flushed.

“Under planned maintenance, council will next week install new flushing points on these narrower lines, so that all lines in Pratten can be flushed on a regular basis.”

A council spokeswoman said the installation of a pipe line from Warwick to Pratten would be a “significant cost” and would have to be passed on to water consumers in Pratten.

Pratten water

  • Tested annually for copper and other minerals.
  • August 2011 tests showed copper levels at 0.15mg/L.
  • Maximum copper limit is 2.0mg/L.