2013-19: Uralla (NSW) – Arsenic, Turbidity, Taste & Odour, Manganese

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2019 December – Uralla (New South Wales) – Arsenic

New South Wales town moves to bottled water after arsenic found in water supply (Dec 18 2019)


Residents of a rural New South Wales town have been told to stop drinking its water after high levels of arsenic were detected in its water supply.
Uralla Council, in the state’s Northern Tableland region, says the level of poison that has been detected is above Australian Drinking Water Guidelines of 0.01 milligrams per litre.
The current readings in Uralla are between 0.04 and 0.05 milligrams per litre.
Arsenic can cause acute gastrointestinal and neurological issues. It has also been linked to skin discoloration and the development of several types of cancer.
The situation is so dire that boiling the water will not make it safe to drink, and bottled water
should be used for drinking, food preparing, making ice, cleaning teeth and gargling.
“Over the past couple of days there has been some elevated levels of arsenic in Uralla’s water supply,” Uralla Councillor Michael Pearce said.
“NSW Health has allocated bottled water to town. We want to let people know that the water is safe to wash, bath but don’t drink the water… we are modifying our treatment works to attempt to elevate the arsenic issue at our water works.”

Arsenic: Australian Drinking Water Guideline = 0.01mg/L

Arsenic is bioaccumulative and symptoms may take 10-15 years to develop after expsoure at high levels. Drinking water can be contaminated with inorganic arsenic through wind blown dust, leaching or runoff from soil, rocks and sediment. Groundwater sources such as bores will usually have higher arsenic levels than surface water. In major Australian reticulated water supplies concentrations of arsenic range up to 0.015mg/L, with typical values less than
0.005mg/L. http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/2676.pdf

Uralla Shire Council has received a number of complaints from resident who say their water is brown and tastes muddy


March 22 2018

Since March 8, Uralla’s town water has poured a distinct shade of brown, and residents say the taste isn’t great either.

And, Uralla Shire Council has earned itself a big thumbs down on popular Facebook page, Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Armidale.

Resident Kel Risk said she only drinks bottled water because of the poor quality.

“[I] can’t go back to that horrid taste,” she said.

Others commented that the water tasted like dirt, and smells bad after boiling and filtering.

They also said council had not advised residents about the issue.​

The muddled water is the result of a heavy rain spell in the upper part of the Kentucky Creek catchment.

A warm dry spell that hit the area soon after resulted in increased algae in the dam.

Buckets of complaints about water turning residents pail have been received since March 8.

“These events triggered a change in the taste of Uralla’s drinking water,” the spokesman said.

“Residents are reporting this change in taste pointing in particular to an ‘earthy’ or ‘muddy’ taste.”

But, council maintains while the drop isn’t as delicious, the water is safe to drink.

Council operators have increased the dosing levels of a charcoal based product at the water treatment plant to bring the flavour back to normal.

“It appears that issues with taste are not consistent across the supply network,” the spokesman said.

“Some residents are experiencing poor taste while others are not.”

This is because pockets of water in the network need to be flushed out, and council is flushing the network to remove the remnants of dirty water.

Council asks residents to contact them directly if running the tap for five minutes doesn’t fix the problem and supply lines to the house will be flushed.

People who have had their supply line flushed should run the tap for five minutes to ensure the line has been refreshed and contact council again if this doesn’t fix the problem.

2013/19 – Uralla (New South Wales) – Manganese

2013/19 – Uralla (New South Wales) – Manganese 0.49mg/L (high), av. 0.0701mg/L (mean)

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