Wongarbon (NSW) – Boil Water Alert
Water supply in Dubbo undrinkable as boil water alert timeframe remains unclear
July 11 2022: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-11/dubbo-boil-water-alert-timeframe-remains-unclear/101226698
The water supply for Dubbo and some surrounding villages remains undrinkable five days after a boil-water alert was issued for the area.
Staff from Dubbo Regional Council are working with NSW Public Health to drain turbid water from the city’s reservoirs and re-fill them with compliant water.
Director of Infrastructure Luke Ryan says getting the water back to a safe drinking quality will happen in stages, with each village to be given the all-clear at different times.
“In terms of diluting the water, that means we’ve actually got to add water to the reservoir, and then drain it all the way back down,” he said.
Recent flooding in the Macquarie-Wambuul River caused turbidity levels in Dubbo’s water supply to exceed the maximum of 0.5 – triggering an immediate boil-water alert to be issued last Thursday morning.
Impacted villages include Firgrove, Wongarbon, Eumungerie, Ballimore, Mogriguy, and Brocklehurst.
Within an hour of the alert being issued, bottled water was stripped bare from supermarket shelves in Dubbo.
The same day the boil water alert was issued, the council advertised a three-year contract for the position of manager of strategy, water supply and sewerage.
It has told the ABC in a statement that the role is not related to recent issues with Dubbo’s water supply.
“The successful candidate will be involved in developing strategies to evolve Dubbo Regional Council’s existing capabilities to overcome or adapt to issues such as this in the future,” a spokesperson said.
Works to flush water ongoing
It’s not known exactly how long the process of draining and re-filling reservoirs will take, however, Mayor Matthew Dickerson says it will most certainly be longer than first anticipated.
Initial communications indicated that the council expected the process to take up to seven days.
A large volume of water will be moving through Dubbo’s stormwater system in the coming days as water is emptied out of reservoirs.
Council staff say it is the first time Dubbo has experienced a boil-water alert since November 2016, when bird excrement in one reservoir caused a high risk of E.coli contamination.
‘Catastrophic’ risk to the elderly, immunocompromised
The Western NSW Local Health District’s coordinator of communicable disease control Priscilla Stanley says the presence of cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrhoeal disease cryptosporidiosis, is of major concern.
“It can cause a catastrophic outcome … people need to keep boiling and cooling their water to keep themselves out of a dire situation,” she said.
The Dubbo region hasn’t experienced an increase in gastro illnesses, however, Ms Stanley urges people to be on the lookout for symptoms.