2015/18 – Baralaba (Queensland) – E.coli, Taste & Odour, Colour, Manganese, Iron

Baralaba (Queensland): E.coli
E.coli Detection – Baralaba Reticulation: There was an instance during the reporting period of E.coli detected in a sample collected from the Baralaba Reticulation network. Incident no DWI-7504-00039 (9/1/2015) refers.
E.coli was detected with a count of 9 E.coli per 100ml with a disinfection residual of 0.16mg/L. Investigation identified incorrect sampling procedure as the most likely cause. Instructions regarding correct sampling location and procedure were re-iterated to staff
Incident Description: The second non-compliance was a detection of E. coli from a routine sample taken on 4/01/2016 at Stopford St median, Baralaba. 5 E. coli organisms per 100 mL were detected, with a disinfection residual of 0.07 mg/L. Corrective and Preventative Actions: The target free chlorine residual was increased to 2.0mg/L to achieve a residual free chlorine throughout reticulation of 0.2mg/L. Sampling and testing was performed at all reticulation sampling points to ensure that the residual target was achieved, and the reservoir setpoints were changed to increase the volume of water exchanged. Follow up sampling did not detect any further E. coli
Banana Shire Drinking Water Quality Management Plan 2014-15 + 2015-16

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

Baralaba (Queensland) – Colour

2017/18: Baralaba (Queensland) – Colour. 120 HU (max), 3.1 HU (mean)

“At times colour is above the ADWG guideline criteria….Generally the colour of treated water at GISC is below the ADWG value, however, large spikes were observed in January 2013 due to an increase in the concentration of manganese in the source water.”

Based on aesthetic considerations, true colour in drinking water should not exceed 15 HU.

“… Colour is generally related to organic content, and while colour derived from natural sources such as humic and fulvic acids is not a health consideration, chlorination of such water can produce a variety of chlorinated organic compounds as by-products (see Section 6.3.2 on disinfection by-products). If the colour is high at the time of disinfection, then the water should be checked for disinfection by-products. It should be noted, however, that low colour at the time of disinfection does not necessarily mean that the concentration of disinfection by-products will be low…

2017/18 Baralaba (Queensland) – Iron

2017/18: Baralaba (Queensland)  – Iron 7mg/L (max)

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste),
the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

2017/18 – Baralaba (Queensland) – Manganese

2017/18: Baralaba (Queensland) – Manganese 1.255mg/L (max), 0.202mg/L (av.)

Manganese: ADWG Guidelines 0.5mg/L. ADWG Aesthetic Guideline 0.1mg/L
Manganese is found in the natural environment. Manganese in drinking water above 0.1mg/L can give water an unpleasant taste and stain plumbing fixtures

What’s going on with Biloela and Baralaba’s tap water?

17 Feb 2017


DISCOLOURED water flowing from a small number of household taps in Biloela and Baralaba does not pose a health threat, Banana Shire Council has assured.

The council acknowledged there were areas in these towns where the water coming from taps appeared discoloured and in some cases was carrying a weedy odour or taste and said staff were working to rectify the problem as quickly as possible.

The discolouration was caused by the presence of manganese that had entered the water pipeline network.

Water services manager Anthony Lipsys said the recent period of extreme hot weather had resulted in a significant increase in water usage.

“Last Sunday, 5.8 million litres of water was used in Biloela,” Mr Lipsys said.

“The higher flows of water have dislodged and stirred up a lot of sediment (including manganese) that has settled in the water mains system over a long period of time.”

Council services director John McDougall stressed there was no health risk associated with the discoloured water.

“Drinking water being distributed through the network is meeting all the Australian drinking water quality guidelines,” Mr McDougall said.

“No doubt some of the aesthetic qualities of the water, like colour, taste and odour, are being impacted but it is safe to drink.”

Mr McDougall said the quality of water was tested multiple times a day at various sites by council staff, with samples sent off to Queensland Health in some cases every week.

“If there was a health-related issue, action would be taken immediately and the community would be notified,” he said.

“This is something we are required to do by law.”

Mr Lipsys said the discoloured water usually cleared if the tap water flowed for several minutes.

“However, if the discoloured water does not clear, people are asked to report the matter to council.”

Mr McDougall said flushing mains in the vicinity of properties where discoloured water had been reported had been effective in alleviating the problem.

“We have also introduced a reservoir cleaning program and air-scouring program to help remove sediment from the water mains,” he said.

“The frequency of air-scouring is being reviewed and will be brought forward.

“Council has also been systematically replacing sections of the aging water mains network in Biloela.

“The ability for council to go out and spend $20 million to upgrade every main in town was impossible in the current economic climate.

“However, we have been carrying out mains replacements in towns where we have a water scheme over the past few years and we have a plan for this to continue over the next 10 years in line with our asset management plans.”

Mr McDougall reiterated the problem may persist for a short period but stressed that the drinking water system is safe.

People with concerns about the quality of their water can phone the Banana Shire Council on 4992 9500 or email enquiries@banana.qld.gov.au.

What is manganese?

  • Manganese is a naturally occurring element that can impart undesirable taste and odour in drinking water.
  • Higher levels of manganese exist in water where oxygen levels are low.
  • Water pumped from Callide Dam is drawn from the deepest section of the dam, where oxygen levels are lower.