2020 July: Biggenden (Queensland). Poor Quality Water. Acidity?

‘Paint stripper’ tap water has residents of this Queensland town hitting the bottle

July 28 2020

Residents of the North Burnett town of Biggenden are having trouble swallowing news their tap water — reputed to strip paint from cars, make beer flat and kill gardens — is unlikely to improve soon.

The town of almost 1,000 people is about an hour from Bundaberg and Maryborough and sources its water from bores.

Publican Stuart Toms said the town water was so unappealing he had switched to rainwater and others were relying on the bottled variety.

“The water itself out of the tap will just leave a film on the glasses and send the beer flat,” he said.

“People in town aren’t even willing to water their gardens because it will kill your plants.

“One of the first things we were told was do not wash your car in this water because it has the potential to strip the paint off.”

He said it was difficult to understand why better quality water wasn’t available, given the town’s proximity to Bundaberg and Maryborough.

“It would be nice to see someone come out here and find out what is wrong.”

‘Safe but yucky’: Mayor

The North Burnett Council has been trying to address the issue since 2017.

Mayor Rachel Chambers said the water was safe to drink but not pleasant.

“I have heard that some people felt that it was making them sick but we couldn’t get any rhyme or reason for it,” he said. “The expert testing didn’t show anything in there that would have been causing that,” Cr Chambers said.

“I haven’t heard of it as a paint stripper, nor as a glass issue.