2017/19 – Warwick (Qld) – E.coli, Manganese, Colour

Warwick (Queensland) – E.coli

14/6/17 (Southern Free Times)

The monthly report for April on town water quality across the region was missing from the May meeting agenda of the Southern Downs Regional Council.

The monthly report usually appears in the Engineering Services section of the agenda, and shows if national drinking water quality standards have been met in council’s potable supplies in the preceding month, but the May agenda only contained water consumption data for the region for April.

The March water quality report showed water tested at the Warwick Water Treatment Plant (WTP) contained a level of E. coli which did not meet the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG), registering two units per 100ML, but the council says this has since been rectified and no E. coli is now present in Warwick supplies.

The advice comes as the council investigates contamination of the Leyburn town water supply which has been found to contain a low level of what the council has referred to as “pharmaceuticals”, but says the water is safe to drink.

Director of Engineering Services Peter See said the reason the April report on the health of Warwick’s town water was missing from the May agenda was “due to consensus (among councillors) that the number of reports generated was high”.

He said the April water quality report was presented to councillors in an Information Report, which are understood to be tabled at councillor briefing sessions held behind closed doors ahead of monthly meetings.

“In May, the information was split: the Recycled Water Tables and the Potable Water Table went into a Councillors Information Report and graphs went into the Monthly report in the May agenda,” Mr See said.

“E. coli is regularly tested, and it is within Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
“The E .coli reading for March at Warwick WTP was brought to the attention of Queensland Health.


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

Why Warwick’s water turned the colour of ‘pee’


Feb 4 2019

LOW storage levels at Connolly Dam caused a surge of dirty, off-coloured tap water to flow through pipes across Warwick at the weekend.

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said council staff opened a lower inlet pipe at Connolly Dam, which increased the amount of dirt and minerals entering the Warwick water treatment plant.

She said large amounts of dissolved manganese clashed with the treatment plant’s chlorination process giving the water a ‘pee’ colour.

“It poses no health risk and doesn’t smell,” Cr Dobie said.

When staff noticed the discoloured water they closed the Connolly Dam inlets, drawing water solely from Leslie Dam.

Cr Dobie said council staff will re-connect the Connolly Dam supply later this week but will bump up chlorine levels to make the water clear again.

“As the dam levels get lower the chlorination process has to become more intense because there is more dirt at the bottom of the dams.”

Most of the off-coloured water cleared the system by Saturday evening but Cr Dobie said there was still some lurking in the pipes across town.

Residents in Glennie Heights, west Warwick, Rosenthal Heights, Lyndhurst Lane, Dragon St, Percy St and Acaica Ave all reported dirty water running from their taps.

Glennie Heights mother Caroline Sinclaire said the quality of her tap water had dropped over the past month.

“It’s been on and off bad for about 2-3 weeks,” she said.

“About a week ago it smelt like dirty dam water and was brown. I have noticed the water was still brown but there was no smell.”

She had not reported the issue to the Southern Downs Regional Council but avoided drinking the water.

Maryvale water suppliers Brad and James Lucas delivered a few bottles of water to a family member’s home and saw the discoloured water stained their clothes after a wash.

They jumped online and posted a link to their business and within minutes the phone started ringing.

“We had 8-9 inquires in an hour,” Brad Lucas said.