2021 February – Parkes (NSW) Taste and Odour

Parkes’ water passes testing after residents report change in odour and taste

18 February 2021


Parkes Shire Council has received multiple calls from residents about a change in taste and odour to the town’s drinking water, and staff would like to reassure the community all the water samples taken have passed bench-top testing.

The calls came in to council over the weekend.

In a statement issued by council on Wednesday, council said Parkes’ drinking water is assured under a Drinking Water Management System, which is required under the NSW Public Health Act 2010.

It requires continual monitoring of drinking water production at the Parkes Water Treatment Plant.

“From Friday, February 12 through until Monday, February 15, there was no exceedance on any of the real-time monitored indicators and all water samples taken in the reticulation passed bench-top testing,” the statement said.

“The temporary change in taste experienced by the community is due to a higher proportion of dam water being used. Naturally occurring chemicals in dam water due to catchment run-off and microbial activity can give the water an earthy taste.”

Parkes Shire Mayor Cr Ken Keith OAM said council was using a higher proportion of dam water as a result of the abundant supply in Lake Endeavour at the moment.

“This is due to very low demand from users, as a result of the excess rainfall we have recently received,” he said.

“The Parkes Water Treatment Plant draws water from three sources – the Lachlan River, the bore fields, and Lake Endeavour Dam.

“The raw water is mixed, filtered and disinfected and the potable water is sent to reservoirs waiting for you to turn on your tap.

“Council operators test the drinking water network daily to ensure the water supply meets the requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and is safe to drink.”

Council’s Director of Infrastructure Andrew Francis confirmed the aesthetic quality of the water, taste and odour are not monitored because they are subjective.

“Meaning that members of the community taste in different ways and at different concentrations, and cause no harm,” he said.

“We appreciate the community providing their feedback on the taste and odour, as it helps us to identify the source and potential compounds for testing.

“To improve the aesthetic nature of the water, Council Operations staff have reduced the flow to the Water Treatment Plant from the dam and have increased the flow from the bores to dilute the taste causing compounds.”

Council said it continues to strengthen the shire’s water security through a number of initiatives, and draws on various water sources including dams, river, bores and recycled water.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their efforts in conserving water, which has enabled us to effectively manage our water supply and security,” Cr Keith added.