2015 February: Claremont (Tasmania) – Taste & Odour

Fed-up Tasmanian residents dish the ‘dirt’ on poor water quality as TasWater investigates cause


Feb 11 2015

TASWATER will commence large-scale flushing of water mains but is yet to find a common cause for the taste and odour issues that have sparked a raft of complaints by Mercury readers.

TasWater CEO Mike Brewster said initial investigations had been carried out within raw water sources, treatment plants and the reticulation system.

“In addition to our regular sampling regime, we have been testing water in the systems where complaints have been raised. We have conducted 319 tests in the last five weeks and results are within Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, which means the water is safe to drink,” Mr Brewster said.

“One of the biggest challenges has been that there is no definitive scientific test for taste and odour in water, and we have been investigating more than 2500km of pipeline across affected areas.

“We can confirm that all calls are investigated and we have been responding to these complaints through localised flushing.

“What this investigation has found is that while localised flushing is helpful, it is not enough. Our crews will now move to larger zonal flushing of water mains.”

Mr Brewster said since early January, the TasWater call centre had received about 236 reports, the majority in the past two weeks and from different parts of Hobart.

General Manager of Works Delivery Dr Dharma Dharmabalan said that as the cause was not obvious, TasWater was considering a range of probable causes.

“We are undertaking investigations to determine if changing water flows, maintenance regimes, seasonal changes and water sources are causing the taste and odour,” Dr Dharmabalan said.

“By mapping all of these activities within the system we anticipate being able to identify the localised causes of the taste and odour issues.”

Fed-up customers dish the ‘dirt’

CLAREMONT mother-of-three Juanita Applebee says she cannot drink the water from her tap because it tastes like “dirt” as TasWater con­tinues its investigation into taste and odour problems ­reported by customers in the Hobart area.

Mrs Applebee’s comments were part of a barrage of more than 100 complaints about Hobart water quality to the Mercury Facebook page yesterday.

She said the water looks clear but has tasted “awful” for the past two weeks.

“I always drink Tasmanian water out of a tap, never bottled water,’’ she said.

“I can’t drink this.”

Mercury readers were not holding back online yesterday.

Emma Wilson, of Bridgewater, says her water “tastes mouldy and has done for months”.

“I sometimes find larvae floating in it. Disgusting. Have complained already, they weren’t interested. Not ­impressed,” Ms Wilson said.

Chief executive Mike Brewster said yesterday an investigation was being conducted over a large area and thousands of kilometres of pipeline as teams worked to find the problem’s source or sources.

Mr Brewster said 40 water samples from effected properties were tested for e coli and all were found to be safe and complying with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

“Water mains are also being flushed out and scoured in the areas where reports of taste and odour are reported and further sampling taking place where required,” he said.

Customers can contact TasWater on 136 992 to report any issues they have with their water connection.