Author Archives: Anthony

2022/23: Port Elliott (South Australia). pH

2022/23: Port Elliott (South Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2022/23: Port Elliott (South Australia) pH 8.52 (av.)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

 

2022/23: Hindmarsh Valley (South Australia). pH

2022/23: Hindmarsh Valley (South Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2022/23: Hindmarsh Valley (South Australia) pH 8.62 (av.)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

16 October 2023: Tasmanian Government Downplays Pesticide Monitoring

https://www.foe.org.au/tasmanian_government_now_flying_blind_on_pesticide_monitoring

Tasmanian Government “Downplays” Pesticide Monitoring?

A recent Right to Information request with TasWater, has raised concerns regarding pesticide monitoring in domestic water supplies in Tasmania. TasWater was punctual in responding to the request, with the process only taking 32 days, however the information provided leaves more questions than answers.

Trevallyn Dam, located 5km west of Launceston’s CBD. What was the source of the Atrazine that was detected in the Dam on August 8 2018 and were the public informed? Why was there no investigation to identify the source of the pollution?  Was the entire dam contaminated? If so for how long?

Information requested from TasWater included results of all pesticide monitoring in Tasmanian water supplies between 2016 to 2023. TasWater provided 149 positive results, between Feb 2016 and August 2018 only. No information was provided for the past 5 years, which is odd considering that between 2013-2018, pesticide detections averaged 29 per year. It seems implausible that detections immediately ceased in August 2018, just 22 days after Tasmania’s most serious pesticide in a domestic water supply incident (ever?). That occurred in Launceston’s Trevallyn Dam on August 8 2018, when the herbicide Atrazine was detected at 27µg/L (27 parts per billion), 35% higher than the Australian drinking water guideline. The last TasWater positive detection occurred on August 30 2018 at the Macquarie River at Longford. Since then there apparently have been no pesticide detections in Tasmanian water supplies. Really? What’s going on?

To put the Trevallyn Dam incident into some context, pesticide breaches to the ADWG’s (Australian Drinking Water Guidelines) are relatively rare events. FoE has recorded only 27 such incidents throughout Australia. The Trevallyn Dam incident is the 22nd most “serious” in relation to Australian drinking water guidelines. In terms of the infamous herbicide Atrazine, levels detected at Trevallyn Dam were the 6th highest recorded in an Australian water supply. Interestingly, the levels were 270 times higher than European Guidelines (any pesticide detection >0.1µg/L is regarded as a breach and is supposed to be investigated to determine the source) and 9 times higher than equivalent Atrazine guidelines in the United States.

The drop off in TasWater detections can partly be explained by TasWater themselves. According to the RTI letter from TasWater dated 4/10/23, “TasWater now test for 21 pesticides on a quarterly* basis. The pesticides are: 2,4 D, Alpha-cypermethrin, Atrazine, Dimethoate, Boscalid, Chlorpyrifos, Chlorothalonil, Clopyralid, Cyanazine, Glyphosate, Dicamba, Haloxyfop, Hexazinone, MCPA, Metribuzin, Metsulfuron methyl, Pendimethalin, Prometryn, Simazine, Sulfometuron-methyl, Terbacil. “For the period 1 January 2016 – 1 September 2023, TasWater carried out over 53,000 tests for pesticides. In 149 cases, pesticides were detected”.

(* Note quarterly means once every three months or only 1.12% of days per year).

This could imply a 0.28% chance of detecting a pesticide, with a 0.002% chance of detecting a pesticide above Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Perhaps the cost of testing outweighed the information gained from such testing? Perhaps funding for the tests has gone elsewhere? Perhaps TasWater have actually substantially reduced or eliminated pesticide testing in most catchments entirely? It appears to FoE that they have indeed decreased testing by at least 50%+ from what had occurred prior to September 1 2018.

According to TasWater on August 14 2018 (6 days after the Trevallyn dam incident!!!): “Historically, we have had few detections of pesticides and therefore the only time we would test for pesticides within the distribution network as if we are undertaking a specific investigation or whether we have had pesticide detections in the source water (raw water) above historical levels (i.e. if we notice a change)…We have a comprehensive water quality monitoring program that is routinely reviewed and to date we have not identified pesticides in our systems above (or approaching) the health limits in the ADWG.”

The RTI data also reveals that at some locations in 2016 (eg Bothwell, Bridport, Tunbridge) TasWater appear to have tested fortnightly at some times of the year. It is also entirely plausible that many locations were not tested at all.

TasWater can’t be entirely be blamed for not wanting to embark on more strenuous and frequent pesticide testing.  Nine years ago the Tasmanian Government raised eyebrows by axing their decade-long pesticide testing program conducted by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE). The program was axed just when results started revealing the highest amounts of pesticides. Up until that time, it was the most comprehensive pesticide testing regime in Australia. TasWater are mainly concerned about monitoring domestic water supplies. It would appear that the bulk of Tasmanian waterways, similar to the rest of Australia (outside of GBR catchments in Queensland), remain untested for. Why?

Pesticide detections were dominated by the herbicide MCPA, almost all of which occurred in 2016. 2018 detections however were dominated by the herbicides Sulfometuron Methyl and Metsulfuron Methyl.

Apart from the incident at Trevallyn Dam, the most serious raw water incidents, at 30% of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, occurred in 2018 in raw water at Pats River Weir Whitemark (Atrazine at 6µg/L), Cornwall in an unnamed stream (Metsulfuron Methyl 12µg/L) and Lake Barron Creek Weir, just upstream of National Park east of Mount Field National Park where Simazine was detected at 6µg/L. The small community of Lake Barron, on Lake Barron island recorded an MCPA detection of 11µg/L in 2016 (27.5% of ADWG), Cannes Hill Reservoir near the community of Whitemark recorded Atrazine at 3µg/L (15% of ADWG) and MCPA at 5.3µg/L (13.25% of ADWG) in 2018 and 2016. Also of interest was the contamination of all 5 bores at Lady Barron with the herbicide Clopyralid with levels in one bore at 180µg/L.

In terms of supplied water (coming through customers taps), an MCPA detection of 2.7µg/L in March 2016 (7% of ADWG) occurred at Whitemark Depot, and two detections of Metsulfuron Methyl of 2µg/L (5% of ADWG) at Herrick Reservoir in May 2018 and another of 1µg/L (2.5% of ADWG) in June 2018. Other water supply detections at Bridport, Lady Barron Police Station, Prospect Vale, Launceston, Bothwell and Longford were below 1% of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Whilst the most frequently pesticide detected was MCPA, 20 detections of Sulfometuron Methyl occurred over a 43 day period between April 30 and June 11 2018. According to FoE records, the only detections of Sulfometuron Methyl in domestic water supplies in Australia occurred in Tasmania during this period, with the highest levels 75µg/L recorded at Adventure Bay on Bruny Island on 25/5/18. Sulfometuron Methyl is registered for use in commercial and industrial areas and rights of way such as roads, powerlines and telephone lines). How did this herbicide impact so many water supplies over a 6 week period? There are no drinking water guidelines for Sulfometuron Methyl.

Tasmanian pesticide detections recorded mainly over the past 30 years from a number of sources according to the Australian Pesticide Map. ~89% of all detections are located in the northern half of the state.

31 different locations recorded pesticide detections between 2016-2018, with the most occurring at Bothwell (16), Tunbridge (11), Whitemark (11), Bridport 10, Gladstone 10, Lady Barron 10, Cornwall 8, Yolla 8, Herrick 7 and Trevallyn Dam 7.

Although communities such as Bothwell and Tunbridge may have recorded the most detections of pesticides, many of their detections were low in comparison to drinking water guideline levels. By accumulating all detections as a percentage of ADWG’s, it becomes apparent that the highest risk location for breaches to ADWG’s was Trevallyn Dam, due mainly to the Atrazine incident of August 2018. These events are however sporadic and to be a major concern for water authorities, events would have to be ongoing and above ADWG’s.

Potential Environmental Impacts

Drinking water is the main focus of TasWater’s testing regimes. However there is another aspect that has to be considered, and that is the ecological impact to species within the waterways themselves. Ecological guideline levels are generally much lower than drinking water guideline levels. Ecological impacts of toxicants in waterways are explained in the ANZECC Guidelines, which specify guideline/trigger levels for a number of pesticides. The ANZECC guidelines do not cover all pesticides. In fact FoE found in 2017 that ~11% of pesticides detected in Australian waterways, had ANZECC Guidelines and that only 3.5% of pesticides registered for use in Australia had ANZECC guidelines. Most of these guidelines date back to 2000, although a handful of pesticides have been granted guideline levels since 2020, the most notable, in terms of Tasmanian waterways being Metsulfuron Methyl.

In simple terms, toxicants have 4 trigger levels specified under the ANZECC Guidelines. High quality environmental streams, eg those with little environmental degradation warrant the highest protection level of 99%. This means that a toxicant entering such a waterway has a guideline level that supposedly will protect 99% of the species within that waterway. The more degraded the waterway, the less species protection. In many degraded urban streams for example the ecological trigger level will be 80%. Guideline levels are therefore are much “stricter” the more pristine the waterway. For example for Metsulfuron Methyl the 99% trigger level is 0.0037µg/L. The 95% trigger level is 0.018µg/L, the 90% trigger level is 0.048µg/L and the 80% trigger level is 0.18µg/l, 48 times higher than the guideline in pristine waterways.

State’s then define what level of protection is warranted for waterways throughout their areas of jurisdiction. National Parks and high conservation value areas would warrant the highest level of protection, whereas slightly to moderately disturbed waterways (eg agricultural areas) generally warrant a 95% trigger level. Deriving ecological guideline levels can be an extremely complicated undertaking. Generally speaking pollution events may also occur over a short duration, during flood events, where “pulses” of contaminants may enter waterways for a limited time period.

In terms of 99% and 95% trigger levels, by the far the most breaches to ecological guideline trigger levels relate to detections of Metsulfuron Methyl. All detections of Metsulfuron Methyl breached both the 99% and 95% trigger levels implying that this particular herbicide is of most concern regarding the ecological impacts upon waterways in Tasmania. Although MCPA was the most frequently detected herbicide by TasWater testing, only 8% of MCPA samples breached ecological guidelines. Metsulfuron Methyl is used on pastures, rights of way, commercial and industrial areas and forest plantations.

95% trigger level pesticide breaches 2016-2018, based on TasWater pesticide test regimes. 90% of breaches occur in the north of the state, with the majority in the north east of the state, including Launceston.

Curries Dam, drinking water supply for George Town and popular fishing location near centre of image. Tamar River and George Town/Bell Bay on the left of image.

TasWater recorded a detection of the organophosphate insecticide Chlorpyrifos at the Curries River offtake of 1µg/L in August 2017. Chlorpyrifos has an exceedingly low 99% guideline level of 0.00004µg/L. This means that the detection of this insecticide at the Currie River was 25,000 times above the 99% ecological trigger level and ten times the 95% ecological trigger level. The same location also recorded Metsulfuron Methyl in May 2018 at 67 times the 99% trigger level and almost 14 times the 95% trigger level. What was the source of the Chlorpyrifos and Metsulfuron Methyl? Why was an investigation not carried out? TasWater’s main role is to provide safe drinking water to consumers, the ecological impacts of toxicants in water supplies is not apparently the agencies priority. Was the EPA informed?

Average levels of the 18 Metsulfuron Methyl detections across Tasmania were 65 times higher than the 99% trigger level and 12 times higher than the 95% trigger level. The most detections occurred in the states north west at Yolla (Dowling Creek). Metsulfuron Methyl was detected over a two month period in 2016 at an average of nine times the 99% trigger level and almost two times the 95% trigger level at Dowling Creek.

Metsulfuron Methyl only “gained” an ecological guideline level in 2021, meaning that when the herbicide was detected by TasWater in 2016 and 2018 barely anyone would have “batted an eyelid“. It also appears that the recent guideline levels have not led to any restrictions of the Metsulfuron Methyl label, despite the exceedingly small ecological guideline level. Pesticide labels specify what amounts of the particular chemical can be sprayed on specific crops and land uses.

Any heavy rainfall events that occur after recent spraying can lead to offsite pollution events. This is particularly the case when many hectares of land in logged plantations for example are left exposed with limited vegetation to lessen soil and pesticide movement off site. If TasWater testing picked up many breaches to ANZECC guidelines in their limited testing regimes in 2016 and 2018 what is going on in terms of Metsulfuron Methyl pollution in other waterways throughout the state since then? No data No Problem?

In terms of the Tasmanian detections in an Australian context, based on FoE pesticide records.

Atrazine: Lake Trevallyn 8/8/18 27µg/L. Australia’s 6th highest detection of Atrazine in a domestic water supply and 22nd highest detection of any pesticide in a domestic water supply. (Atrazine Australian Drinking Water Guideline 20µg/L. ANZECC trigger levels 99% 0.7µg/L, 95% 13µg/L).

Chlorpyrifos: Curries River 10/8/17 1µg/L: Australia’s 2nd highest detection of Chlorpyrifos in a domestic water supply. (Chlorpyrifos Australian Drinking Water Guideline 10µg/L. ANZECC trigger levels 99% 0.00004µg/L, 95% 0.01µg/L).

Clopyralid: Lady Barron Bores 14/12/16 22-180µg/L: Australia’s 5 highest detections of Clopyralid in a domestic water supply and in any water source. (Clopyralid Australian Drinking Water Guideline 2000µg/L. No ANZECC trigger levels).

Dicamba: Lady Barron 7/5/18, Whitemark 7/5/18, Cornwall 8/5/18 0.6µg/L – 0.7µg/L: Australia’s 3rd, 4th and 5th highest detections of Dicamba in a domestic water supply. (Dicamba Australian Drinking Water Guideline 100µg/L. No ANZECC trigger levels).

Hexazinone: Ringarooma WTP 3/7/18 9.5µg/L. Australia’s 4th highest detection of Hexazinone in a domestic water supply. (Hexazinone Australian Drinking Water Guideline 400µg/L. ANZECC trigger levels 99% 0.31µg/L, 95% 1.1µg/L).

MCPA: Lady Barron 2/3/16 5.3µg/L. Australia’s 2nd highest detection of MCPA in a domestic water supply and 4th highest detection in any water source. 11µg/L. Whitemark 2/3/16. (MCPA Australian Drinking Water Guideline 40µg/L. ANZECC trigger levels 99% 1.4µg/L, 95% 1.4µg/L).

Metsulfuron Methyl: Australia’s 9 highest detections of Metsulfuron Methyl in domestic water supplies. 8/5/18 Cornwall 12µg/L (max) highest detection in any Australian waterway. (Metsulfuron Methyl Australian Drinking Water Guideline 40µg/L. ANZECC trigger levels 99% 0.0037µg/L, 95% 0.18µg/L).

Simazine: Lady Barron Creek Weir 26/7/18 6µg/L. Australia’s 5th highest detection of Simazine in a domestic water supply. (Simazine Australian Drinking Water Guideline 20µg/L. ANZECC trigger levels 99% 0.2µg/L, 95% 3.2µg/L).

Sulfometuron-methyl: Australia’s 10 highest detections of Sulfometuron Methyl in Australian domestic water supplies and Australian waterway. 25/5/18 Adventure Bay 75µg/L (max). (Sulfometurn Methyl has no Australian Drinking Water Guideline and no ANZECC trigger levels).

For more information or to make a tax deductible donation contact anthony.amis@foe.org.au

7/7/23: Are Queenslanders “Microdosing” on Weedkillers in their drinking water.

https://www.foe.org.au/are_queenslanders_microdosing_on_weedkillers_in_their_drinking_water

Are Queenslanders “Microdosing” on Weedkillers in their drinking water?

The answer to this question, is probably yes depending on where you live.

Pesticides in waterways are a common occurrence. Pesticides can wash off land particularly during rainfall events. If a community’s drinking water supply is located on a waterway downstream of where these chemicals are applied, there is a risk that the water could contain pesticide residues. Pesticides can also pollute groundwater. Some communities rely on bore water for drinking water. Pesticides can also move on air currents through a phenomenon called spray drift and end up in water supplies.

If the water supply offtake is connected to a water treatment plant then it is likely that pesticides in the source water, if present, will be significantly reduced or even eliminated by the treatment process employed. Powder Activated Carbon (PAC) is a relatively common method of reducing (but not entirely eliminating) pesticides in water, but not every water treatment plant will use PAC and standard water treatment facilities are not successful in removing pesticides. Once the treated water leaves the water treatment plant it is transported in the reticulation network to customer taps.

Original photo taken 8 Jan 2006 by Nick J

The number one concern of water authorities however are the dangers of micro-biological contaminants in the raw water which if found in the reticulated system can cause very serious health problems.

A number of other chemicals and substances can also be present in the raw, treated and reticulated water. Some chemicals are added at water treatment plants, such as chlorine, which in turn can create disinfection by-products. Pipes and plumbing can also have residues of heavy metals such as lead. Pesticides are generally regarded lower down the list of concerns for water authorities.

Another complicating factor is pesticide testing. This is costly with some samples costing hundreds of dollars each. To regularly test for the suite of possibly hundreds of pesticides used within a catchment around the year is an extremely costly exercise. As a result, some water authorities restrict their pesticide testing to once year or in some cases not at all. To add to the problem, in Queensland, local councils (often cash-strapped) are generally responsible for guaranteeing (and testing) safe drinking water to residents. Pesticide testing may be a low priority.

Users of pesticides are also under no obligation to inform the local council exactly what they are spraying. The more agriculture in a catchment, the higher the chances of pesticide runoff. Many of the catchments in coastal northern Queensland have large amounts of land devoted to crops such as sugarcane and bananas. Pesticides such as Atrazine can be used up to 3.3kg/ha in sugarcane, which may not sound like a lot, however pesticides can impact on water supplies less than parts per billion*, so it does not take alot of chemical to tarnish a water supply. (*One part per billion is equivalent to one drop in an Olympic size swimming pool). Many farms have also been established in high risk/runoff locations making relocation or retirement of farms unlikely.

Pesticide Reporting Portal

That being said, some of the most thorough pesticide testing in Australia has been conducted by the Queensland Government over the past decade. The Pesticide Reporting Portal provides a wealth of information on pesticide detections in a number of Queensland waterways, with a particular focus on waterways that flow into the Great Barrier Reef.

By accessing information from the Portal, over 72,000 pesticide detections from 39 current locations have been sighted by FoE. The amount of data in some cases stretches back to 2011. From these 39 locations, FoE determined that only 7[***] of the current testing locations were located in domestic water supplies.

These included: The Haughton River at Giru (just downstream from the towns offtake), the Pioneer River at Dumbleton Weir Mackay (the offtake to Mackay’s drinking water), the Fitzroy River at Rockhampton (near Rockhampton’s offtake) and Comet Weir (near the small town of Comet’s drinking water supply). The portal gives a unique insight into pesticide contamination of Australian waterways.

The timing of testing varied between these locations ranging back to 2011 for the Pioneer River (5647 positive samples) and Comet River (1628 positive samples), 2017 for the Haughton River (871 positive samples) and 2014 for the Fitzroy River (1976 positive samples). The testing also found 874 positive samples in the Burnett River (Bundaberg) from August 2017.

(*The city of Bundaberg sources drinking water from the Burnett River and bores. The location where the Queensland Government testing is conducted takes place 5km downstream of Branyan Water Treatment Plant offtake. The Government also have a testing location on Spliters Creek which flows into the Burnett River about 1km downstream of the Branyan WTP offtake. Nevertheless, testing of 6 water reservoirs at Bundaberg by the local council has revealed the presence of pesticides. Reservoirs fed by bore water have tested positive for the herbicide Bromacil.  A number of other Reservoirs are supplied water from Sun Water (eg The Gooburrum Main Channel sourced from Burnett River feeds into the Vecillios Road Reservior) and pesticides have also been found in these reservoirs. Sunwater also use the herbicide Acrolein to control weeds in their channels).

(*The town of Ingham relies primarily on bore water, however the town can draw from the Herbert River as an alternative. Queensland Government testing has recorded almost 2400 pesticide detections in the Herbert River since August 2011. The testing location appears to be in close proximity to the Water Treatment Plant. 23 pesticides have been detected with the most frequently detected being Diuron, Imidacloprid, Atrazine and 2,4-D. Of the 12 bores at Ingham, local council testing has found traces of Atrazine in 5 bores and Imidacloprid in 9. Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid insecticide with no Australian Drinking Water Guideline).

(*The town of Innisfail relies on drinking water from the Johnstone River. Queensland Government testing has recorded over 760  pesticide detections in the North Johnstone River since February 2012. The current Queensland testing location at Goondi is a couple of kilometres downstream from the Innisfail offtake. 16 pesticides have been detected with the most frequently detected being Imidacloprid, Diuron and 2,4-D. Local Government testing has found traces of 6 pesticides in the Innisfail raw water supply with the most frequently detected being Imidacloprid. The highest detection being 0.23µg/L).

Bundaberg: Approximate location of the Branyan WTP marked with wavy lines. Queensland Government testing points marked with blue pins. WTP samples therefore would not be ‘influenced’ by Spliters Creek. Spliters Creek flows into the Burnett River upstream of the Qld Govt Bundaberg/Burnett River testing site. The Burnett River site is also well downstream of the WTP offtake but will be influenced by whatever is washing down Spliters Creek and Bundaberg itself. Spliters creek pesticide samples were dominated by Metolachlor, Atrazine and 2,4-D. Branyan WTP over the past few years has recorded detections of: Atrazine, Hexazinone, Metolachlor, 2,4-D, Dalapon and Tebuthiuron at levels averaging 0.07% of Australian Drinking Water Guideline levels.

Four different water supplies

To standardise the test results the following graph looks at pesticide detections from four water supplies (excluding Bundaberg, Ingham and Innisfail) since October 2017. The graph shows that in terms of total pesticide amounts detected by the Queensland Government tests, Diuron and Atrazine were the biggest problem chemical for the Pioneer River at Dumbleton Weir Mackay, with Tebuthiuron being most problematic for the Fitzroy River Rockhampton and Comet River at Comet Weir. Atrazine and Tebuthiuron were the most frequently detected pesticides at Giru over the 5 ½ year period.

The graph below shows that the largest pesticide detection volumes of the Haughton, Pioneer, Fitzroy and Comet Rivers over 5 ½ years were detected in the Pioneer River at Mackay, followed by the Comet River, Fitzroy River and Haughton River. This shows that in terms of drinking water and risks associated with pesticides, Mackay would appear to be the standout.

The graph does not provide insight into what chemical loads have been coming down the Pioneer River for many years. Out of 16,500 tests carried out by the Queensland Government at Dumbleton Weir on the Pioneer River between 2011 and 2023, 34% were positive for pesticides. Of these tests 92.7% of samples tested positive for Diuron and 87% were positive for Atrazine. What this means is that almost every sample of water taken from Dumbleton Weir will contain Atrazine and Diuron. The average level of detection of both was around 0.5µg/L, well under the Australian Drinking water guideline for both herbicides (20µg/L), but 5 times higher than the European Guideline and for Atrazine 5 times higher than the level required to cause issues with hormones.

Of the 39 waterways tested for pesticides over the past decade average levels in the Pioneer River came in at 11th in the waterways tested for across catchments flowing into the Great Barrier Reef.

Atrazine has been found to cause hormonal changes in amphibians at 0.1µg/L. It is banned in Europe.  There are no Australian drinking water guidelines for Fluroxypur, Imidacloprid and Tebuthiuron. In fact FoE found in 2016 that 41% of pesticides detected in Australian waterways do not have Australian Drinking Water guidelines.

Atrazine Diversion

Non-legally enforceable guidelines for many agricultural chemicals and other substances in drinking water are set by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Safe is debatable term. To determine safe levels of pesticides, human testing is not allowed, so testing is conducted on animals. For Atrazine the No Observed Effect Level (NOEL) was based on a 2 year study of rats. This amount was then divided by 100 which incorporates a factor of 10 for interspecies extrapolation and 10 for intraspecies variation. An estimation of body weight of a 70kg male drinking 2L of water a day is also included in the calculation to determine ‘safe’ dose.

Are impacts on the endocrine system and other issues concerning long term low level exposure to pesticide included in these estimations? The guidelines also do not take into account impacts from mixtures of low levels of chemicals, where synergistic effects may occur. Are these effects included in the 100 ‘safety factor’? If so how?  It’s also interesting to note that the Australian drinking water guideline for Atrazine (set 12 years ago) is 20µg/L. In Europe, pesticides have a drinking water guideline of 0.1µg/L. In the United States the drinking water guideline for Atrazine is set at 3µg/L and long term exposure above this level is linked to cardiovascular system or reproductive problems. The Australian guideline prior to 2011 was 40µg/L.

Australian scientists have recently called for Atrazine to be withdrawn in Australia for its effect on male fertility.

Other studies have stated: “Current regulatory levels for chronic exposure are based on no observed adverse effect levels (NOAELs) of these LH alterations in rodent studies. Atrazine has also been studied for its effects on the central nervous system and neurotransmission. The European Union (EU) recognized the health risks of atrazine exposure as a public health concern with no way to contain contamination of drinking water. As such, the EU banned atrazine use in 2003. The United States recently reapproved atrazine’s use in the fall of 2020. Research has shown that there is a wide array of adverse health effects that are seen across multiple models, exposure times, and exposure periods leading to dysfunction in many different systems in the body with most pointing to a neuroendocrine target of toxicity.”

The following graphic reveals some of the complexities grappling researchers studying impacts of Atrazine and its metabolites.

Source of this graphical representation

Local Government to the Rescue?

In terms of impacts to drinking water, the Queensland Government test data can only surmise what is potentially ending up in consumer taps. It is highly unlikely that local Government authorities were testing their water treatment plants at the time that the Queensland Government was doing their monitoring. Some councils monitor for pesticides on an annual basis. Others test every few months using grab samples which really only give a chemical amount for an instant in time. Generally speaking if the grab tests show a level of pesticide at a level above the drinking water guidelines, further testing and management protocols should apply.

To try and ascertain what is being detected by Queensland local government, some of the information is published in various council Drinking Water Quality Management Plans which in some cases are published annually. After wading through a number of these plans it was determined that 12 shires published pesticide test results at some time over the past decade. There are however 77 local government areas in Queensland, so the scale of the issue is probably much larger than acknowledged.

Looking at the regional council data, FoE found over 1000 pesticide detections with a maximum detection average of 0.98µg/L. The 1000 test results however included samples taken in raw water, treatment plant water and reticulated water. Once the reticulated water samples were isolated a total of 204 positive detections in reticulated water supplies were found. The maximum detection average level in reticulated supplies was 3.9µg/L. It should be highlighted that there was a general lack of consistency in what defined treated as opposed to reticulated water. The numbers were also skewed by the Mackay incident of Feb & March 2013 where both Diuron and Atrazine were detected at the Nebo Road treatment plan at almost 20 times higher than the Australian Drinking Water Guideline (or 3900 and 3500 times higher than the European Guideline). It is unclear what amounts of Atrazine and Diuron ended up being consumed in Mackay as a result of this incident, but if this incident is removed from the spreadsheet the maximum pesticide detection average in reticulated water drops to 0.265µg/L.

Average detection levels in comparison to the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines for pesticides with guideline levels was 39.68%, once again including the 2013 spike of Atrazine and Diuron at Mackay. If the 2013 Nebo Road WTP incident is removed, the average pesticide detection level is 1.97% of current Australian Drinking Water Guideline Levels. 1.97% of guideline levels does probably not warrant much attention from water authorities, as there will be other chemicals found at much higher levels in water supplies which will take priority.

Friends of the Earth produced a report in 2017 looking at pesticide detections in Victorian water supplies for the years 2007-16. That report found that the average pesticide detection in mostly raw water was 0.46µg/L, with the average pesticide level in comparison to Australian Drinking Water Guidelines was 0.98%.

Source: Mackay Regional Council Drinking Water Quality Management Plan 2013/14. How was the community notified about this incident. What amounts of Diuron and Atrazine ended up in reticulation? What areas of Mackay had the highest levels and for how long? Were there health impacts eg pregnant women?

The most positive test results according to various Drinking Water Quality Management Plans, from raw, treated and reticulated local council samples came from Western Downs Shire (274), followed by Bundaberg Shire (177), Mackay Shire (164), Banana Shire (149), Central Highlands Shire (127), Burdekin Shire (99), Flinders Shire (36), Hinchinbook Shire (33), Issac Shire (20), Cassowary Shire (14), Maranoa Shire (14) and Tablelands Shire (13). There was little consistency across these shires in terms of reporting data with some conducting testing one year, but then not following up the year after. Some of the test results were published, with others not.

19 separate pesticides were detected by local government testing, with Atrazine and its metabolites making up 49.5% of all detections, followed by Metolachlor 13.2% and Tebuthiuron 11.3%.

Interestingly there was no positive samples for Rockhampton. Whilst the Fitzroy River doesn’t seem to have the same pesticide loads as the Pioneer River at Mackay, the lack of positive detections is possibly explained by a lack of testing for pesticides used within the Fitzroy catchment by Rockhampton Shire. It is unclear whether the council actually test for the main pesticides found in the Fitzroy River by the Queensland Government namely, Tebuthiuron, Metolachlor, Atrazine, Terbuthylazine, 2,4-D, Simazine, Fluroxypur etc.

From FoE’s assessment approximately 300,000 people in Queensland in approximately 12 shires have been exposed to pesticides in the drinking water over the past decade. The main concern areas being Mackay, Marian, Bundaberg, Ayr, Home Hill, Giru/Cungulla, Ingham, Biloela, Capella, Comet, Prairie, Baralaba and Jandowae.

It is likely that similar results would occur in many other regions of Australia.

The Queensland situation appears to be quite serious, particularly if one also factors in ecological impacts of application of pesticides. European guidelines suggest that any pesticide detection >0.1µg/L in a water supply need to be investigated by authorities to understand the source of the pollution and to try and stop the pollution occurring. Queensland Government testing suggest that the 0.1µg/L level was breached over 27,000 times over the past decade. Investigators would be hard pressed to find the source of the pesticides, considering their widespread use throughout Queensland.

Top ten detections of pesticides in Queensland domestic water supplies according to Council water quality management plans.

Location Pesticide Council Supply Amount (max) Australian Drinking Water Guidelines =1
Nebo Road WTP Feb 2013 Diuron Mackay Treatment Plant 390µg/L 19.5x
Nebo Road WTP Feb 2013 Atrazine Mackay Treatment Plant 350µg/L 17.5x
Prairie 2017/18 Heptachlor Flinders Raw 0.371µg/L 1.237x
Tinnaroo Park 2016/17 Thiometon Tablelands Raw 4.3µg/L 1.075x
Biloela Bore 2017/18 Dicofol Banana Raw 3.2µg/L 0.8x
Biloela 2017/18 Dicofol Banana Potable? 3.2µg/L 0.8x
River Park Res. 2019/20 Fipronil Bundaberg Raw 0.55µg/L 0.785x
Baralaba Jan/Mar 2015 Dicofol Banana Treatment Plant 2.9µg/L 0.725x
Jandowae Bore 2 27/9/16 Dieldrin Western Downs Raw 0.2µg/L 0.667x
Jandowae Bore 2 28/1/15 Dieldrin Western Downs Raw 0.2µg/L 0.667x
Jandowae Bore 2 29/7/15 Dieldrin Western Downs Raw 0.2µg/L 0.667x
Jandowae Bore 2 4/11/15 Dieldrin Western Downs Raw 0.2µg/L 0.667x

5/2/24: Darlngunaya (Western Australia). No drinking water

Darlngunaya Community into second day with no water supply

Feb 5 2024. https://nit.com.au/05-02-2024/9630/breaking-darlngunaya-community-into-second-day-with-no-water-supply

A remote Indigenous community in the Fitzroy Valley, in WA’s far north, has gone into day two of having no water supply, locals say.

Resident Natalie Davey said on Monday that the situation had been reported to Department of Communities.

In November last year Ms Davey and others reported that their community continued to have water supply problems after they returned home, having been evacuated to temporary accommodation after the major floods in January.

This week the problems came to a head, with no running water for two days – and counting.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the maximum temperature in Darlngunaya is expected to reach 40 C on Monday.

Because of a historical loophole in the land tenure, Darlngunaya is classified as self-managing its water, which means the state government has avoided responsibility for water issues.

National Indigenous Times contacted the WA Department of Water, WA Water Corporation and WA Department of Communities for comment.

Communities advised National Indigenous Times that responsibility for water and power in remote communities was transferred to Water Corporation and Horizon Power as of June last year.

2022/23: Kulpara (South Australia). pH

2022/23: Kulpara (South Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2022/23: Kulpara (South Australia) pH 8.64 (av.)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

2022/23: Leigh Creek Town (South Australia). pH

2022/23: Leigh Creek Town (South Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2022/23: Leigh Creek Town (South Australia) pH 8.5 (av.)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

2022/23: Copley (South Australia). pH

2022/23: Copley (South Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2022/23: Copley (South Australia) pH 8.63 (av.)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

2022/23: St Kilda (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

St KIlda (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: St Kilda (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 70ug/L (max), 50.67ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2020/21: Rottnest Island (Western Australia). Bromate, Iron, pH, Nickel

Rottnest Island – (Western Australia) – Bromate

2020/21 – Rottnest Island (Western Australia) – Bromate 0.031mg/L (maximum)

The health characteristics sampled during the 2020‐2021 reporting period returned results in line with those taken during the 2019‐2020 period, returning five exceedances of bromate compared with three exceedances in the previous reporting period.
Bromate testing was added to the agreed sampling schedule in the 2017‐2018 reporting period. This followed a request from the Department of Health to participate in a voluntary monitoring program for bromate.

Bromate: Regulatory Standard = 0.02mg/L (Also see section of desalination). A suspected carcinogen. Bromate is formed when ozone used to disinfect drinking water reacts with naturally occurring bromide found in source water. Bromate formation in disinfected drinking water is influenced by factors such as bromide ion concentration, pH of the source water, the amount of ozone and the reaction time used to disinfect the water.

Rottnest Island (Western Australia) – Iron

2020/2021:  Rottnest Island (Western Australia) – Iron 0.39mg/L (max), 0.07mg/L (mean/av.)

Iron: 9 of the 102 samples recorded iron concentrations above the Australian Drinking Water
Guidelines aesthetic value of 0.3 mg/L, with the highest concentration reported at 0.91 mg/L
at R12/008 in March 2021. All nine of the iron exceedances occurred at R12/008 during the
reporting period. Investigation into the cause of the exceedances are still ongoing.
Iron has a taste threshold of 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste),
the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

Rottnest Island (Western Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2020/21: Rottnest Island (Western Australia) pH 8.69 (mean)

pH: 2 of 120 samples reported pH values outside the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines
aesthetic pH range of 6.5 ‐ 8.5. The exceedances for the 2020‐2021 period were at the
following locations:
R12/002 in July 2020 and August 2020, reported a pH of 8.9 and 8.7 respectively, 0.4 and 0.2
pH units above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline upper limit respectively.
In May 2021, R12/004, R12/006 and R12/008 were reported as having pH below the lower
limit in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Recalibration and retesting by the lab
returned results above the lower limit and are therefore no longer reported as exceedances
within this report

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

Rottnest Island (Western Australia) Nickel

2020/21: Rottnest Island (Western Australia) Nickel 0.034mg/L

There was one health exceedance within this reporting period for Nickel at Visitor Centre drinking fountain in August 2020. The source of the exceedance was found to be corroded fittings, which were replaced before the next monitoring round. There were no exceedances following the parts replacement and the drinking fountain was opened for public use in September 2020

Nickel: ADWG Health Guideline 0.02mg/L. A chemical element and silvery white corrosion resistant metal with a golden tinge. 60% of nickel production is used in nickel steel (particularly stainless steel). In water, mainly a problem with nickel plated fittings. Main releases to the environment are from the burning of fossil fuels and in waste discharges from electroplating industries.

 

2022/2023: Wanneroo (Western Australia). E.coli

2022/2023 – Wanneroo (Western Australia) – E.coli

2022/23: Wanneroo (Western Australia). E.coli 3 e.coli CFU/100mL

“E.coli

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

2022/23: Hyden (Western Australia). pH

Hyden (Western Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2022/23: Hyden (Western Australia) pH 8.69 (mean)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

2022/23: Porongurup (Western Australia). Hardness, Total Dissolved Solids

Porongurup – Western Australia – Hardness

2022/23: Porongurup (Western Australia) Hardness 260mg/L (max), 253mg/L (mean)

GUIDELINE

“To minimise undesirable build‑up of scale in hot water systems, total hardness (as calcium
carbonate) in drinking water should not exceed 200 mg/L.

Hard water requires more soap than soft water to obtain a lather. It can also cause scale to form on hot water pipes and fittings. Hardness is caused primarily by the presence of calcium and magnesium ions, although other cations such as strontium, iron, manganese and barium can also contribute.”

Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011

Porongurup – Western Australia – Total Dissolved Solids

2022/23: Porongurup (Western Australia Total Dissolved Solids 611mg/L (max), 585mg/L (mean)

GUIDELINE

“No specific health guideline value is provided for total dissolved solids (TDS), as there are no
health effects directly attributable to TDS. However for good palatability total dissolved solids
in drinking water should not exceed 600 mg/L.

Total dissolved solids (TDS) consist of inorganic salts and small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water. Clay particles, colloidal iron and manganese oxides and silica, fine enough to pass through a 0.45 micron filter membrane can also contribute to total dissolved solids.

Total dissolved solids comprise: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, sulfate, bicarbonate, carbonate, silica, organic matter, fluoride, iron, manganese, nitrate, nitrite and phosphates…” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011

2022/23: Spencers Brook (Western Australia). pH

Spencers Brook (Western Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2022/23: Spencers Brook (Western Australia) pH 8.64 (mean)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

29/12/23: South Burnett (Queensland). Turbidity, Colour

Locals furious over South Burnett’s drinking water, Deb Frecklington responds

29/12/23:

South Burnett residents have expressed outrage at the ongoing state of the regions drinking water. One resident has questions for council, including asking if they would bath a newborn in the discoloured water…. In May of this year a South Burnett Council spokesperson said the council was unaware of the water being undrinkable as it met Australian drinking .

2024 January: Wonga (Queensland) Turbidity

COMPLETE CALAMITY: Embarrassing state of Douglas Shire water supply again exposed for all to see

22/1/24 Michael Warren: https://www.newsport.com.au/articles-archive/2024/january/complete-calamity-embarrassing-state-of-douglas-shire-water-supply-again-exposed-for-all-to-see

UPDATED: 12.01PM, Monday, 22/1

Douglas Shire Council just released a statement regarding the current water issue. It read:

Continuous heavy rainfall has caused high turbidity at the water intakes, affecting the performance of water treatment plants at Mossman, Whyanbeel and Wonga.

Last night Council was forced to turn off water supply to Port Douglas following a severe drop in water reservoir levels. Council is working to increase the treated water reservoirs to a level which allows the water supply to be turned back on.

“Staff are working hard to find short and long-term solutions to this current supply issue,” Council said in its prepared statement just moments ago.

“We realise this is a challenging time for both residents, visitors and businesses but we ask for your patience while we get the water running again.”

Council said it hoped Whyanbeel reservoir was at a sufficient level by midday today for water to be sent slowly through to Wonga, Rocky Point and Miallo residents.

The ongoing status of Douglas Shire water supply and accessibility has reached embarrassingly calamity proportions with access either turned off or reduced across the Douglas Shire over the past 24-48 hours.

The ongoing water crisis across the Shire has been exacerbated by Douglas Shire residents’ frustration of the perceived ineffective, non-transparent messaging style of Douglas Shire Council.

Many residents took to social media last night to query why the Shire continues to have water issues that leads to snap water restrictions or situations and scenarios that sees access to drinking water immediately turned off, with little to no notice.

“The water supply to Port Douglas will be turned off shortly until further notice,” Council said in a last minute, late night statement 13 hours ago.

“A dramatic drop in the reservoir level a short time ago suggests there might be a major leak in the pipeline.

“We’ll continue to keep you updated on the Port Douglas supply, and developments across the broader pipeline network, including Mossman, Whyanbeel and Wonga.”

This morning just a few hours ago Council released a further statement about the embarrassing water calamity across the Shire.

“Whyanbeel Water Treatment Plant is producing at the moment,” the statement started.

“We are aiming to have the reservoir at 35% before turning water on to Wonga, Rocky Point and Miallo.

“The Mossman Water Treatment Plant was turned off overnight due to turbidity and we will try to turn the plant back on this morning.

“There is no ETA for turning the water back on in Port Douglas but engineers will be on site today to find a temporary solution while a permanent solution is found.

“We appreciate this is a difficult time for everyone. We’ll be providing updates as soon as new information comes to hand.”

Instead Council instructed residents at Wonga and Port Douglas to get bottled water at Wonga State School and Douglas Community Hall.

It’s one thing to have no water, but Douglas Shire residents are collectively fed up and understandably frustrated about the lack of notice regarding water being turned off, and the state of the Council run Douglas Dashboard.

Council encourages residents to check it for the latest information, but when they do – the information is usually inaccurate, outdated and not applicable to the current situation. Another frustration was that local residents received texts or information about the water being turned off, after it had been done, meaning some residents couldn’t get last minute supplies together.

As is stands, there is a disaster meeting happening this very moment where the issue of local water availability is currently being discussed.

Douglas Shire Councillors’ frustration has reached fever pitch regarding the water situation with many lamenting the lack of information they have received from within Council about why, once again, locals are being subjected to water issues.

The ongoing poor state of Douglas Shire water infrustrature has continued to be in the spotlight following last December’s Ex Tropical Cyclone and the ensuing heavy rain event.

Since then the local system has been plagued by breakages, blocked pipes and other issues which have caused snap closures and residents’ access to their water.

No more was this clearly demonstrated then last night where some locals received a random late night email telling them to fill up water containers as soon as possible.

Under the headline emergency Alert for Port Douglas, Craiglie and Mowbray locals received an email at 9.21pm last night from QFES.

It read: An Emergency Alert (Watch and Act) has been issued from the Douglas Shire Council. Increased rainfall has caused unexpected water production issues resulting in loss of water services, which is occurring now. People in Port Douglas, Craiglie and Mowbray will be impacted. You need to fill water containers now.

Over the weekend Newsport received copious amounts of emails from bewildered and angry readers who expressed their frustration that once again their access to water had been severely limited or turned off altogether with little to no notice.

Newsport understands an expert team from Brisbane is being sent up to assess the Douglas Shire water situation. To further complicate the matter DSC CEO Rachel Brophy is currently in Degarra and not on the ground locally to directly address the issue.

Newsport understands a lack of maintenance and aging infrastructure are two reasons behind the Shire’s ongoing water issues.

2024 January: Port Douglas (Queensland). Boil Water Alert

COMPLETE CALAMITY: Embarrassing state of Douglas Shire water supply again exposed for all to see

22/1/24 Michael Warren: https://www.newsport.com.au/articles-archive/2024/january/complete-calamity-embarrassing-state-of-douglas-shire-water-supply-again-exposed-for-all-to-see

UPDATED: 12.01PM, Monday, 22/1

Douglas Shire Council just released a statement regarding the current water issue. It read:

Continuous heavy rainfall has caused high turbidity at the water intakes, affecting the performance of water treatment plants at Mossman, Whyanbeel and Wonga.

Last night Council was forced to turn off water supply to Port Douglas following a severe drop in water reservoir levels. Council is working to increase the treated water reservoirs to a level which allows the water supply to be turned back on.

“Staff are working hard to find short and long-term solutions to this current supply issue,” Council said in its prepared statement just moments ago.

“We realise this is a challenging time for both residents, visitors and businesses but we ask for your patience while we get the water running again.”

Council said it hoped Whyanbeel reservoir was at a sufficient level by midday today for water to be sent slowly through to Wonga, Rocky Point and Miallo residents.

The ongoing status of Douglas Shire water supply and accessibility has reached embarrassingly calamity proportions with access either turned off or reduced across the Douglas Shire over the past 24-48 hours.

The ongoing water crisis across the Shire has been exacerbated by Douglas Shire residents’ frustration of the perceived ineffective, non-transparent messaging style of Douglas Shire Council.

Many residents took to social media last night to query why the Shire continues to have water issues that leads to snap water restrictions or situations and scenarios that sees access to drinking water immediately turned off, with little to no notice.

“The water supply to Port Douglas will be turned off shortly until further notice,” Council said in a last minute, late night statement 13 hours ago.

“A dramatic drop in the reservoir level a short time ago suggests there might be a major leak in the pipeline.

“We’ll continue to keep you updated on the Port Douglas supply, and developments across the broader pipeline network, including Mossman, Whyanbeel and Wonga.”

This morning just a few hours ago Council released a further statement about the embarrassing water calamity across the Shire.

“Whyanbeel Water Treatment Plant is producing at the moment,” the statement started.

“We are aiming to have the reservoir at 35% before turning water on to Wonga, Rocky Point and Miallo.

“The Mossman Water Treatment Plant was turned off overnight due to turbidity and we will try to turn the plant back on this morning.

“There is no ETA for turning the water back on in Port Douglas but engineers will be on site today to find a temporary solution while a permanent solution is found.

“We appreciate this is a difficult time for everyone. We’ll be providing updates as soon as new information comes to hand.”

Instead Council instructed residents at Wonga and Port Douglas to get bottled water at Wonga State School and Douglas Community Hall.

It’s one thing to have no water, but Douglas Shire residents are collectively fed up and understandably frustrated about the lack of notice regarding water being turned off, and the state of the Council run Douglas Dashboard.

Council encourages residents to check it for the latest information, but when they do – the information is usually inaccurate, outdated and not applicable to the current situation. Another frustration was that local residents received texts or information about the water being turned off, after it had been done, meaning some residents couldn’t get last minute supplies together.

As is stands, there is a disaster meeting happening this very moment where the issue of local water availability is currently being discussed.

Douglas Shire Councillors’ frustration has reached fever pitch regarding the water situation with many lamenting the lack of information they have received from within Council about why, once again, locals are being subjected to water issues.

The ongoing poor state of Douglas Shire water infrustrature has continued to be in the spotlight following last December’s Ex Tropical Cyclone and the ensuing heavy rain event.

Since then the local system has been plagued by breakages, blocked pipes and other issues which have caused snap closures and residents’ access to their water.

No more was this clearly demonstrated then last night where some locals received a random late night email telling them to fill up water containers as soon as possible.

Under the headline emergency Alert for Port Douglas, Craiglie and Mowbray locals received an email at 9.21pm last night from QFES.

It read: An Emergency Alert (Watch and Act) has been issued from the Douglas Shire Council. Increased rainfall has caused unexpected water production issues resulting in loss of water services, which is occurring now. People in Port Douglas, Craiglie and Mowbray will be impacted. You need to fill water containers now.

Over the weekend Newsport received copious amounts of emails from bewildered and angry readers who expressed their frustration that once again their access to water had been severely limited or turned off altogether with little to no notice.

Newsport understands an expert team from Brisbane is being sent up to assess the Douglas Shire water situation. To further complicate the matter DSC CEO Rachel Brophy is currently in Degarra and not on the ground locally to directly address the issue.

Newsport understands a lack of maintenance and aging infrastructure are two reasons behind the Shire’s ongoing water issues.

2023 Dec/2024 Jan: Brungle (NSW) Boil Water Alert

12/12/23: Yass, Boorowa residents spend thousands on bottled water …

Yass, Boorowa residents spend thousands on bottled water despite election promises to fix problem

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-12/yass-boorowa-residents-buy-bottled-water-health-concerns/ Dec 12 2023

A short drive from the nation’s capital, a water supply described as smelling like “rotten socks” is forcing residents to spend thousands of dollars a year on bottled water.

Located less than an hour from Canberra on the southern tablelands, Yass has been plagued by issues with water quality, resulting in an election promise by both major parties in 2019 to spend at least $10 million upgrading the nearby water treatment plant.

However, according to the former coalition government, concerns about the cost of the $10 million project blowing out meant only $2.5 million was provided for an upgrade to the plant, while a business case was prepared.

But despite the upgrades made to the treatment station, issues remain with the water quality.

A study conducted by Yass Valley Council found 85 per cent of survey respondents in the area did not drink tap water.

After living in the town for five years, Gail Reid believed “people shouldn’t have to put up” with the supply issues.

“It is putrid, the colour of it, the smell is like rotten socks,” Ms Reid said.

“I want my grandkids who live in Yass to be able to drink water and not have to bathe in brown water.”

Instead, Ms Reid spends $40 a week buying bottled water for cooking and drinking, which is putting increasing pressure on the retiree.

“It is not very fair for the retired people, pensioners who struggle with it day to day, they shouldn’t have to.”

New South Wales Water Minister Rose Jackson has been contacted for comment.

Health concerns

At nearby Boorowa, there are considerable concerns about the town’s water.

Before living in the small town, Angus Mitchell never had an issue with his skin.

But after nine years in the region, Mr Mitchell said his skin breaks out in rashes after showering.

“When I came here, all of a sudden I got rashes on my chest when I shower from the chlorine,” he said.

“If you can’t drink it, what’s it doing to your body when you wash?”

A report to Hilltops Council identified that the town’s treatment plant was unable to reduce hardness in the water and dissolve solids and chlorine, resulting in the supply regularly exceeding the aesthetic tests for the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG).

The study concluded that only 18 per cent of locals in Boorowa drank the tap water, with the rest relying on bottled water and rainwater.

Hilltops Council has been contacted for comment.

With the treatment plant unable to remove hardness in the water, residents have reported having to replace appliances less than two years after purchasing them.

Resident Leanne Corcoran said, like many in the town, it had cost her hundreds of dollars to regularly replace pipes and appliances destroyed by the water.

“Hot water systems go on a regular basis because of the chemicals in the water, the town water just corrodes the system.

“It is pretty third world considering we are so close to Sydney and Canberra.”

Guidelines and data

A study by the Australian National University (ANU) found more than 400 regional and remote communities did not have access to good quality drinking water across the country.

The study assessed water quality performance against the ADWG.

According to Paul Wyrwoll at the ANU Institute for Water Futures, more than 620,000 people’s town water failed in the ADWG’s aesthetic tests, which assesses taste, smell, and colour.

Dr Wyrwoll said while this did not necessarily pose an immediate risk to residents’ health, it did raise concerns over the livability of regional towns affected particularly along the Darling River.

“There is a whole range of issues in terms of stress and anxiety,” Dr Wyrwoll said.

“Households simply don’t trust the water coming out of their tap. They are afraid to bathe their children or drink the water.”

Dr Wyrwoll said in NSW there was no requirement for water services to provide public reports, resulting in shortfalls with how drinking water quality data was collected.

“We don’t have any national data water collection system, and there are big gaps in monitoring and reporting,” he said.

“That means for 1.2 million people living in regional NSW, they don’t know what’s in their tap water.”

2022/23: Salisbury East (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Salisbury East (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Salisbury East (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 75ug/L (max), 51ug/L (av. 2022/23)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Burton (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane, Chloropicrin

Burton (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Burton (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 74ug/L (max), 53.33ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

Since bromodichloromethane was listed in the Sixth Annual Report on Carcinogens, additional studies in rats have been identified. Administration of bromodichloromethane in the drinking water increased the combined incidence of benign and malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma or carcinoma) in males (George et al. 2002) and caused benign liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma) in females (Tumasonis et al. 1987).

Cancer Studies in Humans
The data available from epidemiological studies are inadequate to evaluate the relationship between human cancer and exposure specifically to bromodichloromethane. Several epidemiological studies indicated a possible association between ingestion of chlorinated drinking water (which typically contains bromodichloromethane) and increased risk of
cancer in humans, but these studies could not provide information on whether any observed effects were due to bromodichloromethane or to one or more of the hundreds of other disinfection by-products also present in chlorinated water (ATSDR 1989).” (1)

2022/23 Burton (South Australia) Chloropicrin

2022/23: Burton (South Australia) Chloropicrin 1.3ug/L (max), 0.65ug/L (av.)

No Guideline level for Chloropicrin

Chloropicrin is formed in water by the reaction of chlorine with humic acids, amino acids,
and nitrophenols. The presence of nitrates increases the amount formed (6). Chloropicrin has
been detected in drinking-water; however, in the presence of reducing agents, it is converted
into chloroform

 

2022/23: Tranmere (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Tranmere (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Tranmere (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 86ug/L (max), 64.67ug/L (av. 2022/23)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Pooraka (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Pooraka (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Pooraka (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 81ug/L (max), 54.83ug/L (av. 2022/23)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Erindale (South Australia). Total Haloacetic Acids, Bromodichloromethane

Erindale (South Australia) – Total Haloacetic Acids

16/3/23: Erindale (South Australia) Total Haloacetic Acids 0.141mg/L (max), 0.0895mg/L (av. 2022/23)

Australian Guidelines Trichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L, Dichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L

“Chloroacetic acids are produced in drinking water as by-products of the reaction between chlorine and naturally occurring humic and fulvic acids. Concentrations reported overseas range up to 0.16mg/L and are typically about half the chloroform concentration. The chloroacetic acids are used commercially as reagents or intermediates in the preparation of a wide variety of chemicals. Monochloroacetic acid can be used as a pre-emergent herbicide, dichloroacetic acid as an ingredient in some pharmaceutical products, and trichloroacetic acid as a herbicide, soil sterilant and antiseptic.” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines – National Health and Medical Research Council…

Erindale (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Erindale (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 79ug/L (max), 64.83ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Campbelltown (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Campbelltown (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Campbelltown (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 92ug/L (max), 64.25ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

 

2022/23: Woodcroft (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Woodcroft (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Woodcroft (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 74ug/L (max), 62.25ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: West Richmond (South Australia). Total Haloacetic Acids, Bromodichloromethane, Chloropicrin

West Richmond (South Australia) – Total Haloacetic Acids

27/3/23: West Richmond (South Australia) Total Haloacetic Acids 0.119mg/L (max), (av. 0.111mg/L 2022/23).

Australian Guidelines Trichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L, Dichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L

“Chloroacetic acids are produced in drinking water as by-products of the reaction between chlorine and naturally occurring humic and fulvic acids. Concentrations reported overseas range up to 0.16mg/L and are typically about half the chloroform concentration. The chloroacetic acids are used commercially as reagents or intermediates in the preparation of a wide variety of chemicals. Monochloroacetic acid can be used as a pre-emergent herbicide, dichloroacetic acid as an ingredient in some pharmaceutical products, and trichloroacetic acid as a herbicide, soil sterilant and antiseptic.” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines – National Health and Medical Research Council…

West Richmond (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: West Richmond (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 84ug/L (max), 61.83ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23 West Richmond (South Australia) Chloropicrin

2022/23: West Richmond (South Australia) Chloropicrin 1.1ug/L (max), 0.55ug/L (av.)

No Guideline level for Chloropicrin

Chloropicrin is formed in water by the reaction of chlorine with humic acids, amino acids,
and nitrophenols. The presence of nitrates increases the amount formed (6). Chloropicrin has
been detected in drinking-water; however, in the presence of reducing agents, it is converted
into chloroform

2022/23: Trott Park (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Trott Park (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23:  Trott Park (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 87ug/L (max), 65.42ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Seacombe Park (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Seacombe Park (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23:  Seacombe Gardens (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 75ug/L (max), 60.25ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Port Noarlunga (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Port Noarlunga (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23:  Port Noarlunga (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 91ug/L (max), 69.17ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Mitchell Park (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Mitchell Park (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23:  Mitchell Park (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 83ug/L (max), 61.5ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Hallett Cove (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Hallett Cove  (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Hallett Cove (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 76ug/L (max), 58.58ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Glenelg (South Australia). E.coli, Bromodichloromethane

2022/2023 – Glenelg (South Australia) – E.coli

2/11/22: Glenelg (South Australia). E.coli 1 CFU/100mL

“E.coli

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

Glenelg  (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Glenelg (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 79ug/L (max), 56.65ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Seaford Rise (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane, Haloacetonitrile

Seaford Rise (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Seaford Rise (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 95ug/L (max), 72.08ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

Seaford Rise (South Australia) – Haloacetonitriles (Bromochloroacetonitrile) >10ug/L

1/3/23: Seaford Rise (South Australia) – Bromochloroacetonitrile 10.2ug/L (max)

1/3/23: Seaford Rise (South Australia) – Dichloroacetonitrile 10.2ug/L (max), 8.05ug/L (av. 2022/23)

“GUIDELINE
Data are inadequate to set guideline values for haloacetonitriles in drinking water
GENERAL DESCRIPTION
Haloacetonitriles are formed from organic precursors during chlorination or chloramination of drinking  water. Concentrations of dihaloacetonitriles reported overseas range up to 0.04 mg/L but are typically  less than 0.003 mg/L. Concentrations of trichloroacetonitrile are less than 0.001 mg/L.
Trichloroacetonitrile has been used as an insecticide. No data are available on uses for the other haloacetonitriles.
TYPICAL VALUES IN AUSTRALIAN DRINKING WATER
No data are available on concentrations of haloacetonitriles in Australian drinking waters”. ADWG 2011

 

 

2022/23: McLaren Vale (South Australia). Ammonia, Bromodichloromethane, pH

McLaren Vale  (South Australia) – Ammonia

2022/23: McLaren Vale (South Australia) Ammonia – Free – as NH3 0.51mg/L (max), 0.35mg/L (av.)

Based on aesthetic considerations (corrosion of copper pipes and fittings), the concentration
of ammonia (measured as ammonia) in drinking water should not exceed 0.5 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value is set for ammonia.

“…Most uncontaminated source waters have ammonia concentrations below 0.2 mg/L. High concentrations (greater than 10 mg/L) have been reported where water is contaminated with animal waste. Ammonia is unlikely to be detected in chlorinated supplies as it reacts quickly with free chlorine. Ammonia in water can result in the corrosion of copper pipes and fittings, causing copper stains on sanitary ware. It is also a food source for some microorganisms, and can support nuisance growths of bacteria and algae, often with a resultant increase in the nitrite concentration.” ADWG 2011

McLaren Vale (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: McLaren Vale (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 87ug/L (max), 64.33ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: McLaren Vale (South Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2022/23: McLaren Vale (South Australia) pH 8.99 (av.)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

2022/23: Caltowie (South Australia). Ammonia

Caltowie  (South Australia) – Ammonia

2022/23: Caltowie (South Australia) Ammonia – Free – as NH3 0.52mg/L (max), 0.28mg/L (av.)

Based on aesthetic considerations (corrosion of copper pipes and fittings), the concentration
of ammonia (measured as ammonia) in drinking water should not exceed 0.5 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value is set for ammonia.

“…Most uncontaminated source waters have ammonia concentrations below 0.2 mg/L. High concentrations (greater than 10 mg/L) have been reported where water is contaminated with animal waste. Ammonia is unlikely to be detected in chlorinated supplies as it reacts quickly with free chlorine. Ammonia in water can result in the corrosion of copper pipes and fittings, causing copper stains on sanitary ware. It is also a food source for some microorganisms, and can support nuisance growths of bacteria and algae, often with a resultant increase in the nitrite concentration.” ADWG 2011

2022/23: Westbourne Park (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane, Chloroketones

Westbourne Park (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Westbourne Park (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 89ug/L (max), 62.92ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

Westbourne Park (South Australia) – Chloroketones

27/6/23: Westbourne Park (South Australia): 1 1-dichloropropan-2-one 1.9ug/L

“GUIDELINE
Data are inadequate to set guideline values for chloroketones in drinking water.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION
The chloroketones are produced in drinking water as by-products of the reaction between naturally occurring organic matter and chlorine. No data are available on other sources or uses for these compounds. Concentrations of chloroketones in drinking water reported overseas are very low and are estimated at less than 0.01 mg/L.

TYPICAL VALUES IN AUSTRALIAN DRINKING WATER
In major Australian reticulated supplies 1,1,1-trichloropropanone has been recorded in concentrations up to 0.02 mg/L, but it is usually below the limit of determination of 0.0005 mg/L. No data are available for other chloroketones.

LIMITING FORMATION IN DRINKING WATER
The presence of chloroketones in drinking water can be minimised by removing naturally occurring organic matter from the source water, by reducing the amount of chlorine added, or by the use of alternative disinfectants.” 2011 ADWG

2022 July – Montrose (Victoria) – Taste & Odour, Ethyl Benzene, Xylene

Montrose (Victoria) Taste and Odour, Ethyl Benzene, Xylene

14 July 2022, Montrose water sampling locality (WQZ 56)

On 14 July 2022, Montrose High Level Reservoir was returned to service following maintenance. Over the next 6 days, Yarra Valley Water received widespread water quality complaints relating to taste and odour. Customers described the water as having a chemical taste and odour.

Investigations determined that the water was imparted with a taste and odour due to chemicals leaching from a new internal coating that was applied as part of maintenance. There is no risk to public health; all health guidelines as specified in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines were met. The results for Ethylbenzene and Total Xylene were slightly above the aesthetic limit for these parameters, hence the chemical taste and odour in the water.

Yarra Valley Water verbally informed the Department of Health of the complaints on 18 July 2022. Section 22 report was submitted on 19 July 2022. The Department of Health were informed that the reservoir was returned to service on 3 October 2022 after extensive cleaning. Subsequent water samples indicated that there was a minor exceedance in aesthetic quality.

A decision was made to keep the reservoir in service due to water supply risks as a result of extreme weather, which the Department of Health were engaged for consultation on 12 October 2022. A communication plan was developed to manage potential widespread complaints. Between 14 July to 28 October 2022, Yarra Valley Water received 46 taste and
odour complaints. The reservoir was taken offline again on 31 October 2022. After further
cleaning, the reservoir was returned to service on 16 November 2022. Yarra Valley Water provided continuous updates to the Department of Health during this period.

2022/23: Tullamarine (Vic) – Iron

Tullamarine (Vic) – Iron

2022/2023:  Tullamarine (Vic) – Iron 0.39mg/L (max), 0.07mg/L (mean/av.)

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste),
the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

2022/23: Nyah (Victoria) – Trihalomethanes, Cyanide

2022/23 Nyah (Victoria) – Trihalomethanes

2022/23 – Nyah (Victoria) – Trihalomethanes 0.25ug/L (max), 0.13mg/L (av.)

Australian Drinking Water Guideline THM’s 0.25ug/L

Why and how are THMs formed?
“When chlorine is added to water with organic material, such as algae, river weeds, and decaying leaves, THMs are formed. Residual chlorine molecules react with this harmless organic material to form a group of chlorinated chemical compounds, THMs. They are tasteless and odourless, but harmful and potentially toxic. The quantity of by-products formed is determined by several factors, such as the amount and type of organic material present in water, temperature, pH, chlorine dosage, contact time available for chlorine, and bromide concentration in the water. The organic matter in water mainly consists of a) humic substance, which is the organic portion of soil that remains after prolonged microbial decomposition formed by the decay of leaves, wood, and other vegetable matter; and b) fulvic acid, which is a water soluble substance of low molecular weight that is derived from humus”. Source: https://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminant

Nyah – Victoria – Cyanide

2022/23: Nyah (Victoria) 0.041mg/L (highest level) (51.25% of Australian Guideline)

Based on health considerations, the concentration of cyanide in drinking water should not
exceed 0.08 mg/L.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION
Cyanide can be present in drinking water through the contamination of source water, or through the natural decomposition of some plants that synthesise cyanoglycosides. Some microorganisms, such as the cyanobacterium Anacystis nidulans and the bacterium Chromobacterium violaceum, produce free cyanide. In uncontaminated water sources, free cyanide concentrations are usually less than 0.01 mg/L. Sodium cyanide is used in the extraction of gold and silver from low-grade ores. It is also used in the electroplating, steel and chemical industries. Some foods can contain quite high concentrations of cyanide. Green almonds and improperly treated cassava are of particular concern.

TYPICAL VALUES IN AUSTRALIAN DRINKING WATER
In major Australian reticulated supplies cyanide concentrations range up to 0.05 mg/L, with typical concentrations usually less than 0.02 mg/L.

TREATMENT OF DRINKING WATER
There are no published reports on methods for the removal of cyanide from drinking water. Chlorine gas or hypochlorite will react with cyanide to form cyanate. Ozone is also an effective oxidant.

HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
Cyanide is highly toxic. It is rapidly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and metabolised to thiocyanate. In humans, long-term consumption of improperly prepared cassava in the tropics has been linked with effects on the thyroid gland and particularly the nervous system. Cyanide may deplete vitamin B12 and result in a deficiency that can cause goitre and cretinism. People most at risk are those with a nutritionally inadequate diet…. ADWG 2011

2022/23: Lake Boga (Victoria). Trihalomethanes, Trichloroacetic Acid

2022/23 Lake Boga (Victoria) – Trihalomethanes

2022/23 – Lake Boga (Victoria) – Trihalomethanes 0.25ug/L (max), 0.11mg/L (av.)

Australian Drinking Water Guideline THM’s 0.25ug/L

Why and how are THMs formed?
“When chlorine is added to water with organic material, such as algae, river weeds, and decaying leaves, THMs are formed. Residual chlorine molecules react with this harmless organic material to form a group of chlorinated chemical compounds, THMs. They are tasteless and odourless, but harmful and potentially toxic. The quantity of by-products formed is determined by several factors, such as the amount and type of organic material present in water, temperature, pH, chlorine dosage, contact time available for chlorine, and bromide concentration in the water. The organic matter in water mainly consists of a) humic substance, which is the organic portion of soil that remains after prolonged microbial decomposition formed by the decay of leaves, wood, and other vegetable matter; and b) fulvic acid, which is a water soluble substance of low molecular weight that is derived from humus”. Source: https://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminant

2022/23 Lake Boga (Victoria) – Trichloroacetic Acid

2022/23 Lake Boga (Victoria) – Trichloroacetic Acid 0.1mg/L, 0.026mg/L (av.)

Australian Guidelines Trichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L, Dichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L

“Chloroacetic acids are produced in drinking water as by-products of the reaction between chlorine and naturally occurring humic and fulvic acids. Concentrations reported overseas range up to 0.16mg/L and are typically about half the chloroform concentration. The chloroacetic acids are used commercially as reagents or intermediates in the preparation of a wide variety of chemicals. Monochloroacetic acid can be used as a pre-emergent herbicide, dichloroacetic acid as an ingredient in some pharmaceutical products, and trichloroacetic acid as a herbicide, soil sterilant and antiseptic.” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines – National Health and Medical Research Council…

2022/23: Sebastian (Victoria). Turbidity, Iron, Colour

2022/23 – Sebastian (Victoria) – Turbidity

2022/23 – Sebastian (Victoria) – Turbidity 5.5NTU (max), 0.1NTU (Maximum 95th Percentile of turbidity results in any 12 months (NTU))

Chlorine-resistant pathogen reduction: Where filtration alone is used as the water treatment
process to address identified risks from Cryptosporidium and Giardia, it is essential
that filtration is optimised and consequently the target for the turbidity of water leaving
individual filters should be less than 0.2 NTU, and should not exceed 0.5 NTU at any time
Disinfection: A turbidity of less than 1 NTU is desirable at the time of disinfection with
chlorine unless a higher value can be validated in a specific context.

Aesthetic: Based on aesthetic considerations, the turbidity should not exceed 5 NTU at the
consumer’s tap

Sebastian (Vic) – Iron

2022/2023:  Sebastian (Vic) – Iron 0.6mg/L (max), 0.06mg/L (mean/av.)

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste),
the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

2022/23 – Sebastian (Victoria) – Colour
2022/23: Sebastian (Victoria) – Colour 16 NTU (max), 3 NTU (av.)

Based on aesthetic considerations, true colour in drinking water should not exceed 15 HU.

“… Colour is generally related to organic content, and while colour derived from natural sources such as humic and fulvic acids is not a health consideration, chlorination of such water can produce a variety of chlorinated organic compounds as by-products (see Section 6.3.2 on disinfection by-products). If the colour is high at the time of disinfection, then the water should be checked for disinfection by-products. It should be noted, however, that low colour at the time of disinfection does not necessarily mean that the concentration of disinfection by-products will be low…

2022/23: Highton (Geelong Victoria). Turbidity

2022/23 – Highton (Victoria) – Turbidity

2022/23 – Highton (Victoria) – Turbidity 8.2NTU (max), 0.3NTU (Maximum 95th Percentile of turbidity results in any 12 months (NTU))

Chlorine-resistant pathogen reduction: Where filtration alone is used as the water treatment
process to address identified risks from Cryptosporidium and Giardia, it is essential
that filtration is optimised and consequently the target for the turbidity of water leaving
individual filters should be less than 0.2 NTU, and should not exceed 0.5 NTU at any time
Disinfection: A turbidity of less than 1 NTU is desirable at the time of disinfection with
chlorine unless a higher value can be validated in a specific context.

Aesthetic: Based on aesthetic considerations, the turbidity should not exceed 5 NTU at the
consumer’s tap

September 2023: Leinster (Western Australia). Nitrate

BHP : Leinster Water Services Licence WL52 Customer Charter

October 30, 2023 at 02:03 am EDT

Leinster Drinking Water and Wastewater Services

BHP Nickel West, Western Australia

September 2023

Introduction

BHP provides drinking water and wastewater services to customers in the town of Leinster, Western Australia.

The purpose of this Customer Charter is to provide customers with a clear understanding of the standards of service you can expect from BHP, your responsibilities as a customer, and our obligations in providing our services to you.

Customers covered by the Charter

This charter covers customers in Leinster that receive:

  • A supply of drinking water
  • Wastewater (sewerage) services

Our Obligations

BHP will:

  • Maintain all water supply and wastewater infrastructure to the boundary agreed by BHP and you
  • Make every effort to minimise interruption to your water supply and wastewater services
  • Provide a minimum three days’ notice of planned service interruptions
  • Restore service interruptions as soon as practicable

Water Supply

BHP will supply a sufficient volume of drinking water to meet the essential needs of the Site and Town occupants.

BHP aims to supply drinking water that is compliant with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (2011).

High nitrate concentrations in the Leinster drinking water means that this water is unsuitable for pregnant women and children under three months of age to consume. Water treated using reverse osmosis to reduce nitrate concentrations to acceptable levels can be collected from the Medical Centre or Camp Mess.

Small reverse osmosis units are also available in the Leinster Fly-inFly-out Village for use by occupants.

Wastewater Services

BHP is committed to environmentally sound practices in the treatment and disposal of wastewater. BHP will collect, treat and dispose of residential wastewater from each customer’s premises and public amenities.

BHP does not provide commercial or industrial wastewater services.

Conditions of Supply

Except in an emergency, BHP will provide prior notification of the need to enter your property or do works that will interrupt your services.

BHP may discontinue the supply of water to your connection if:

  • You do not comply with your obligations under this Customer Charter
  • There is a public health, safety or environmental risk to our services from your connection (e.g. back flow or unauthorised waste discharge)

Your Obligations

Customers shall:

  • Not tamper with our water supply and wastewater infrastructure
  • Not dispose of harmful substances, rubbish and foreign objects (eg. litter, cleaning products, nappies, food scraps, cooking oils and grease, chemicals) to the wastewater system
  • Contact us if you experience a significant change in water flow, quality or pressure or have issues with wastewater blockages and/or spills

Page 1 of 2

Customer Charter

Leinster Drinking Water and Wastewater Services

BHP Nickel West, Western Australia

September 2023

Fees and Charges

No fees and charges will be applied for the supply of drinking water or wastewater services to the boundary agreed by BHP and you.

Information and privacy

We will treat your personal information in accordance with all applicable laws.

We may be required to provide relevant information to authorities in the event that you are under investigation for the illegal use of any services or any other crime.

Customer Enquiries, Suggestions and Complaints

If you have any enquiries, suggestions or complaints on the way we deliver our services, please contact BHP by phoning (08) 9026 5227 between 9 am and 4 pm on business days or emailing (niwnlntownmaintenance@bhp.com).

We aim to reply to you as soon as possible and in any event within 10 business days.

Alternatively you the customer are able to engage the Energy and Water Ombudsmen to assist in Complaint resolution/appeal or review by contacting using the FREECALL phone number 1800 757 004.

Please contact us by phoning (08) 9026 5227 between 9 am and 4 pm on business days or emailing (niwnlntownmaintenance@bhp.com) if you require access to additional resources or support in accessing information or general enquiries, including support for:

  • Customers with hearing / speech impairment, or if interpreter services are required;
  • Access to a large-print version of any BHP publicly available information

Service Faults and Emergencies

Faults with the water supply and wastewater systems involving significant service outages or possible damage to property are to be reported immediately to BHP Facilities Management by phoning (08) 9026 5227.

October/December 2023: Glenreagh. Boil Water Alert – Turbidity

BOIL WATER ALERT LIFTED – Village of Glenreagh

Published on 21 December 2023

Glenreagh Boil Water Alert

After consulting NSW Health, Clarence Valley Council advises all residents in Glenreagh that tap water is now safe to drink.

This applies immediately.

Testing confirms the water supply system has been filled with freshly treated water that is safe.

There is no longer a public health concern over the quality of drinking water, and it is now considered safe for all typical uses including drinking, preparing food and beverages, personal washing, dishwashing, laundry purposes and flushing toilets.

Update – BOIL WATER ALERT – Village of Glenreagh

Published on 12 October 2023

Update – 12 October 2023

What we know:

  • The filtration plant has not captured the extremely fine particles in the source water.
  • Due to increased turbidity in the drinking water for Glenreagh, a precautionary Boiled Water Alert has been issued.
  • The disinfection treatment units are functioning providing Ultra Violet and Chlorine disinfection.
  • Laboratory results confirm no E coli detection.

What we don’t know:

  • When the Boil Water Alert will be lifted

What we are doing:

  • Daily water samples being collected and sent to the laboratory.
  • Investigations into alternate filtration options underway with the filtration plant supplier.

What we want you to do:

  • Water used for drinking or food preparation should be brought to a rolling boil to make it safe. Kettles with automatic shut off switches can do this. Water should then be allowed to cool and stored in a clean container with a lid and refrigerated.
  • Everyone, particularly people caring for young children, should be careful to avoid scalding, when you are heating and then cooling the water.
  • Bottled water or cool boiled water should be used for drinking, washing uncooked food (e.g. salad vegetables and fruit), making ice, cleaning teeth, gargling and pet’s drinking water.
  • Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher.
  • Children should take bottled water or cool boiled water to school/childcare.

31/7/23: Clarrie Hall Dam. Blue Green Algae

31/7/23: Tweed Shire Council has downgraded the blue-green algae alert at Clarrie Hall Dam from amber to green.

While testing by the NATA-accredited Tweed Laboratory Centre has confirmed algae levels in dam water have decreased, algae species capable of producing toxins continue to be detected.

Council’s Water and Wastewater Operations Manager Brie Jowett said while it was good news the blue-green algae alert had been downgraded, untreated water in Clarrie Hall Dam and its upstream and downstream tributaries might still be harmful to humans and animals.

“Council always takes a cautionary approach with blue-green algae – we continue to advise residents and visitors not to come into contact with dam water, not to eat fish from the dam and to keep animals away,” Mrs Jowett said.

“Never drink untreated dam or river water at any time. Don’t water livestock and other animals with untreated water from the dam and its upstream and downstream tributaries.

“If you come into contact with the algae, rinse it off with fresh water and seek medical advice if symptoms appear.”

Blue-green algae warning signs remain in place at public access points to the dam, alerting the public to the risks.

Affected water appears to have a green paint-like scum on the water, near the edges, or greenish clumps throughout the water. It can have a musty odour.

Council issued a green alert for blue-green algae at the dam in November 2022 and raised the alert to amber in May 2023.

Mrs Jowett said the Tweed’s tap water remained safe.

“Due to our robust water treatment processes, tap water throughout the Tweed remains safe to drink and bathe in,” Mrs Jowett said.

“The processes remove algae and potential toxins, alongside taste and odour compounds, ensuring our tap water continues to be treated to a standard that is well within Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.”

Lab scientists will continue to test untreated dam water twice a week.

Untreated river water that supplies the Tweed’s water treatment plants at Uki, Bray Park and Tyalgum is being tested weekly.

2/3/21: Ponti Road, Reservoir, Townsville (Queensland) – Trihalomethanes

2/3/21 Ponti Road, Reservoir, Townsville – Trihalomethanes

On 2 March 2021 routine lab sampling detected 0.275mg/L THMs at Ponti Road Reservoir. This was a result of the increase in sodium hypochlorite dose required for prechlorination for manganese during the discoloration event (DWI-506-21-08862). Once pre-chlorination had
been established, sodium hypochlorite dose was reduced and THMs (and chlorates) have returned to normal levels in the network. Pre-chlorination of the filters has resulted in a net reduction of chlorine dose across the plant which has reduced DBP concentrations overall.

Why and how are THMs formed?
“When chlorine is added to water with organic material, such as algae, river weeds, and decaying leaves, THMs are formed. Residual chlorine molecules react with this harmless organic material to form a group of chlorinated chemical compounds, THMs. They are tasteless and odourless, but harmful and potentially toxic. The quantity of by-products formed is determined by several factors, such as the amount and type of organic material present in water, temperature, pH, chlorine dosage, contact time available for chlorine, and bromide concentration in the water. The organic matter in water mainly consists of a) humic substance, which is the organic portion of soil that remains after prolonged microbial decomposition formed by the decay of leaves, wood, and other vegetable matter; and b) fulvic acid, which is a water soluble substance of low molecular weight that is derived from humus”. Source: https://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminant

2021: Douglas Water Treatment Plant (Townsville, Queensland) – Chlorates

2021 Douglas Water Treatment Plant – Townsville (Qld) Chlorates

On 9 February 2021 chlorates above DWQMP targets were detected at Douglas WTP and in the network. Chlorates above DWQMP targets were detected for much of March. This was the same body of water moving through the system. This was due to the high initial dosing of sodium hypochlorite on module one and two filters to establish a coated media process for the removal of soluble manganese. The issue was compounded by the hot weather and the inability to flush water due to water production issues. Once the coated media process was established the sodium hypochlorite dose pre-filter was significantly reduced and a corresponding decrease in chlorate concentration occurred. Ongoing management of sodium hypochlorite stock in Townsville occurs as per the DWQMP.

2018/2021: Ross River Dam (Queensland). Cyanobacteria

2018-2021: Ross River Dam (Queensland)

DWI-506-21-08862 – Townsville DWS – Cyanobacteria. Event resulting in discoloured water and reduced supply Cyanobacteria have been detected in RRD since 2018. Cell numbers (and biovolume) have been increasing each summer since. Numbers increased significantly  (>120,000 cells/ml) in January and February and diatoms numbers also increased significantly (>80,000 cells/ml). This caused filter binding at Douglas WTP and water production decreased from the 30 January 2021. It also caused filter breakthrough which resulted in a yellow
hue to the treated water. In RRD the cyanobacteria experienced a die off phase which dropped dissolved oxygen (DO) levels in the dam at all levels in the profile. As low DO was at all offtake layers this low DO water was taken into the WTP. This low DO water was high in soluble manganese (low DO enables soluble manganese to be released from the sediments in the bottom of the dam). This soluble manganese passed through the filters and resolubilised to total manganese at the chlorination step in the clear water storages.
Pre-chlorination was added to the filters in module 1 and module 2. This effectively removed the manganese, improved cyanobacterial cell removal, reduced net sodium hypochlorite load on the WTP and improved DO across the WTP. The initial high sodium hypochlorite dose required increased Disinfection By-Product (DBP) formation in the short term but has since reduced due to the reduced sodium hypochlorite dose required for pre-chlorination and the overall net chlorine use across the plant.
Pre-chlorination remains in place and is now prior to filtration on all modules. Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) dosing is in place to mitigate toxin risk if required. Construction of clarifiers pre–direct filtration modules has begun with a construction end date of
December 2022. A Catchment Management Plan is being developed.

2014/21: Fitzroy River (Rockhampton) Raw Water. Cyanobacteria, Iron, Manganese, Fluoride,

2014/21: Fitzroy River (Rockhampton) Raw Water

The raw water also contains low background concentrations of fluoride. The specific
source of the fluoride is unknown. Relatively high concentrations of iron and
manganese have also been observed in the raw water. During a flood event in April
2017 raw water with total iron concentrations of up to 14 mg/L were recorded.
Similarly, February 2021 to June 2021 recorded total manganese concentrations
above 7 mg/L.

Low levels of the cyanobacterial toxin cylindrospermopsin were detected during a
bloom of Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii in late 2014. This toxin-producing species of
cyanobacteria is usually detected during prolonged periods of low raw water turbidity
in late winter and spring. Low levels of the potentially toxic Anabaena circinalis and
Microcystis aeruginosa are also detected usually from early spring.

27/4/22: Mount Bassett Reservoir (Queensland) – Lead

27/4/22: Mount Bassett Reservoir (Queensland) – Lead

Routine monitoring of the Mount Bassett Reservoir returned a lead result above the ADWG health guideline limit of 0.01 mg/L. Downstream results from Slade Point on the same day return a compliant result for lead, indicating it was a localised incident. Follow-up sampling on 6 May 2022, from two alternative sample points (Emergency Shower at the Reservoir and the top of the reservoir tank) did not record any exceedances. An inspection of the sample tap pipework identified that there was a brass tapping band connected to the off take connection from the water main to the sample tap. The age of this tapping band is unknown. It is believed that the high lead reading is most likely caused by of degradation of the sample tap off take connection. This has been removed and a new off take was established on an
alternative main pipe.

Lead Australian Drinking Water Guideline 0.01mg/L

“… Lead can be present in drinking water as a result of dissolution from natural sources, or from household plumbing systems containing lead. These may include lead in pipes, or in solder used to seal joints. The amount of lead dissolved will depend on a number of factors including pH, water hardness and the standing time of the water.

Lead is the most common of the heavy metals and is mined widely throughout the world. It is used in the production of lead acid batteries, solder, alloys, cable sheathing, paint pigments, rust inhibitors, ammunition, glazes and plastic stabilisers. The organo-lead compounds tetramethyl and tetraethyl lead are used extensively as anti-knock and lubricating compounds in gasoline…ADWG 2011

4/11/21: Laguna Quays (Queensland) – Manganese

4/11/21: Laguna Quays (Queensland) Manganese

Routine drinking water monitoring taken on at the Laguna Quays sample point within the Midge Point Water Supply Scheme (WSS) reticulation network returned a manganese result that breached the ADWG health guideline. Other samples collected on the day of the incident from within the Midge Point WSS and Reservoir were within the ADWG health guidelines, indicating the incident was localised to the Laguna Quays section. In response to the incident, the balance tank at the Midge Point facility was drained and flushed out to removed a build up of sediment which was identified at the bottom of the tank. This sediment is believed to be a potential source of manganese in the reticulation network.

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 and laundry.

15/12/20: Cape Hillsborough (Queensland) – E.coli

15/12/20 – Cape Hillsborough Reticulation. Mackay & Sarina Scheme (Queensland) – E.coli

Dec 15 2020: E. coli was detected in a sample collected from the Cape Hillsborough reticulation sample point as part of the routine drinking water verification monitoring program. It is believed the E. coli detection was due to in field contamination with a frog and gecko excrement identified within the sample tap box at the time of sample collection. In response to this incident sterilisation practices detailed in in the Drinking Water Sampling procedure were reviewed and updated.

“E.coli

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

13/8/20: Nicholls (ACT). Manganese

13/8/20: Manganese – Nicholls
In response to a customer enquiry of discoloured water, sampling results returned an elevated level of manganese from a nearby hydrant. Samples were also taken at the customer’s front garden tap and an additional upstream hydrant at the same time. Both these samples returned low total manganese levels, well within the health guideline limit. Icon Water resolved the level through flushing water from the main.

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 and laundry.

12/9/20: Stromlo District (ACT). Manganese

12/9/20 Manganese – Stromlo District. A result from the routine monitoring program, an elevated level of manganese was detected at a commercial property. From various checks it was determined that the lack of water use during the COVID-19 period had allowed the metal to accumulate. The levels were resolved through flushing water through the service pipes.

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 and laundry.

Jan/Feb 2020 – Corin Water Supply Reservoir (ACT). Bushfire

Jan/Feb 2020 Corin Water Supply Reservoir (ACT)

The Orroral Valley fire in January and February 2020 impacted the Namadgi National Park (comprising the southern region of the Cotter catchment including Corin and Bendora water supply reservoirs). 1,951 hectares of Corin catchment and 137 hectares of Bendora
catchment were impacted by high severity fire. A risk assessment was completed to determine the management options in February 2020 and identified that the fire had been of a high intensity and had increased risks to water quality and water treatment needs.

The Cotter catchment bushfire was  followed shortly after by a high intensity rainfall event. Rainfall events following bushfires can have a significant impact on water quality, caused by increased rates of erosion, increased sediments and turbidity, and the introduction of a range of chemicals into the water supply. Rainfall following bushfires can release inorganic nutrients from burnt plant material and lead to an increase in phosphorus and other nutrients
entering waterways which can lead to  future algal blooms.

To minimise impacts to the ACT and regional water supply and in response to the Cotter catchment bushfire and rainfall event, Icon Water implemented the water quality event monitoring program, installed sediment traps to reduce sediment movement in drainage lines and deployed silt curtains on Corin and Bendora reservoirs to contain ash and suspended material.

2000/15: Halifax (Queensland) – Aluminium, Chloride, Sodium, Total Dissolved Solids, Turbidity

Halifax (Queensland) – Aluminium

Sampling for aluminium in raw water sources shows small quantities in all bores, except for two abnormal  historical results that occurred in a Macknade Combined Bore sample and a Halifax Combined Bore sample. On 21st June 2000 a sample was taken for aluminium from both the Macknade Combined Bore and the Halifax Combined Bore and the reading for aluminium was 0.8 mg/L and 0.17 mg/L respectively. These results were a large variation against the other samples taken over the period. These bores have been rehabilitated within the
past 5 years and the latest readings show low levels. Aluminium levels in the treated and reticulated water remain constant and do not show any trends, exceedances or spikes.

According to the ADWG, no health guideline has been adopted for Aluminium, but that the issue is still open to review. Aluminium can come from natural geological sources or from the use of aluminium salts as coagulants in water treatment plants. According to the ADWG “A well-operated water filtration plant (even using aluminium as a flocculant) can achieve aluminium concentrations in the finished water of less than 0.1 mg/L.

The most common form of aluminium in water treatment plants is Aluminium Sulfate (Alum). Alum can be supplied as a bulk liquid or in granular form. It is used at water treatment plants as a coagulant to remove turbidity, microorganisms, organic matter and inorganic chemicals. If water is particularly dirty an Alum dose of as high as 500mg/L could occur. There is also concern that other metals may also exist in refined alum.

While the ADWG mentions that there is considerable evidence that Aluminium is neurotoxic and can pass the gut barrier to accumulate in the blood, leading to a condition called encephalopathy (dialysis dementia) and that Aluminium has been associated with Parkinsonism dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the NHMRC, whilst also acknowledging studies which have linked Aluminium with Alzheimer disease, has not granted Aluminium a NOEL (No Observable Effect Level) due to insufficient and contradictory data. Without a NOEL, a health guideline cannot be established. The NHMRC has also stated that if new information comes to hand, a health guideline may be established in the future.

In communication with Aluminium expert Dr Chris Exley (Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry
The Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, Staffordshire UK) in March 2013 regarding high levels of Aluminium detected in the South Western Victorian town of Hamilton
“It is my opinion that any value above 0.5 mg/L is totally unacceptable and a potential health risk. Where such values are maintained over days, weeks or even months, as indeed is indicated by the data you sent to me, these represent a significant health risk to all consumers. While consumers may not experience any short term health effects the result of longer term exposure to elevated levels of aluminium in potable waters may be a significant increase in the body burden of aluminium in these individuals. This artificially increased body burden will not return to ‘normal’ levels when the Al content of the potable water returns to normal but will act as a new platform level from which the Al body burden will continue to increase with age.

Halifax (Queensland) – Chloride

Some high levels of chloride in the raw water have been recorded at Halifax that exceeds the ADWG. Halifax  Bore 3 had the highest record of 590 mg/L in 2015. However, the maximum over the past 5 years was 47 indicating that the decommissioning of the Halifax system has improved raw water quality. Chloride levels for  treated and reticulation water are well below the guideline.

“Chloride is present in natural waters from the dissolution of salt deposits, and contamination from effluent disposal. Sodium chloride is widely used in the production of industrial chemicals such as caustic soda, chlorine, and sodium chlorite and hypochlorite. Potassium chloride is used in the production of fertilisers.

The taste threshold of chloride in water is dependent on the associated cation but is in the range 200–300 mg/L. The chloride content of water can affect corrosion of pipes and fittings. It can also affect the solubility of metal ions.

In surface water, the concentration of chloride is usually less than 100 mg/L and frequently below 10 mg/L. Groundwater can have higher concentrations, particularly if there is salt water intrusion.

Based on aesthetic considerations, the chloride concentration in drinking water should not exceed 250 mg/L.

Halifax (Queensland) – Sodium

Historical sodium levels in raw water were slightly higher in the Halifax bores than the Macknade Bores. There were some peaks identified in Halifax Bore 3 (maximum 321 mg/L) and Halifax Bore 5 (maximum 150 mg/L). however, the maximum value was 40 mg/L in the past 5 years and is due to using Macknade bores. Sodium levels in treated and reticulated water are below the guideline and show no trends or abnormal results.

“Based on aesthetic considerations (taste), the concentration of sodium in drinking water
should not exceed 180 mg/L….The sodium ion is widespread in water due to the high solubility of sodium salts and the abundance of mineral deposits. Near coastal areas, windborne sea spray can make an important contribution either by fallout onto land surfaces where it can drain to drinking water sources, or from washout by rain. Apart from saline intrusion and natural contamination, water treatment chemicals, domestic water softeners and
sewage effluent can contribute to the sodium content of drinking water.” ADWG 2011

Halifax (Queensland) – Total Dissolved Solids.

Raw water data for the level of total dissolved solids is scattered. In general, the Halifax bores have a higher reading of total dissolved solids in the raw water. The maximum level of 1190 mg/L was recorded at Halifax Bore 3 in 2015. A maximum level of 189 mg/L was recorded since 2015 indicating that the removal of the Halifax system has been beneficial. Similar results were found in the treated and reticulated water.

GUIDELINE

“No specific health guideline value is provided for total dissolved solids (TDS), as there are no
health effects directly attributable to TDS. However for good palatability total dissolved solids
in drinking water should not exceed 600 mg/L.

Total dissolved solids (TDS) consist of inorganic salts and small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water. Clay particles, colloidal iron and manganese oxides and silica, fine enough to pass through a 0.45 micron filter membrane can also contribute to total dissolved solids.

Total dissolved solids comprise: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, sulfate, bicarbonate, carbonate, silica, organic matter, fluoride, iron, manganese, nitrate, nitrite and phosphates…” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011

Halifax (Queensland) – Turbidity

For the past 5 years, turbidity levels in raw water are quite scattered, but the majority of the sampling shows  that the turbidity in raw water falls below 5 NTU. The maximum result was 13 NTU. The maximum treated water turbidity was 4 NTU, and 2 NTU in the reticulation system. An operational procedure is planned to select raw water sources to improve overall water quality.

Chlorine-resistant pathogen reduction: Where filtration alone is used as the water treatment
process to address identified risks from Cryptosporidium and Giardia, it is essential
that filtration is optimised and consequently the target for the turbidity of water leaving
individual filters should be less than 0.2 NTU, and should not exceed 0.5 NTU at any time
Disinfection: A turbidity of less than 1 NTU is desirable at the time of disinfection with
chlorine unless a higher value can be validated in a specific context.

Aesthetic: Based on aesthetic considerations, the turbidity should not exceed 5 NTU at the
consumer’s tap

2013 – Bramston Beach (Queensland). Cryptosporidium

2013 – Bramston Beach (Queensland) – Cryptosporidium

In 2013 the routine testing program confirmed three Cryptosporidium detections in the
southern rural schemes (Fishery Falls, Mountain View and Bramston Beach), Boil Water
Notices were required to be issued for two of these instances.

Cryptosporidium

“In recent years, Cryptosporidium has come to be regarded as one of the most important waterborne human pathogens in developed countries. Over 30 outbreaks associated with drinking water have beenreported in North America and Britain, with the largest infecting an estimated 403,000 people (Mackenzieet al. 1994). Recent research has led to improved methods for testing water for the presence of humaninfectious species, although such tests remain technically demanding and relatively expensive.

Cryptosporidium is an obligate parasite with a complex life cycle that involves intracellular development in the gut wall, with sexual and asexual reproduction. Thick-walled oocysts, shed in faeces are responsible for transmission. Concentrations of oocysts as high as 14,000 per litre in raw sewage and 5,800 per litre in surface water have been reported (Madore et al. 1987). Oocysts are robust and can survive for weeks to months in fresh water under cold conditions (King and Monis 2007).

There are a number of species of Cryptosporidium, with C. hominis and C. parvum identified as the main causes of disease (cryptosporidiosis) in humans. C. hominis appears to be confined to human hosts, while the C. parvum strains that infect humans also occur in cattle and sheep. C. parvum infection sare particularly common in young animals, and it has been reported that infected calves can excrete up to 10 billion oocysts in one day. Waterborne outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis have been attributed to inadequate or faulty treatment and contamination by human or livestock (particularly cattle) waste.

C. hominis and C. parvum can be distinguished from one another and from other Cryptosporidium species  by a number of genotyping methods. Infectivity tests using cell culture techniques have also been developed. Consumption of contaminated drinking water is only one of several mechanisms by which transmission (faecal-oral) can occur. Recreational waters, including swimming pools, are an important source of cryptosporidiosis and direct contact with a human carrier is also a common route of transmission.Transmission of Cryptosporidium can also occur by contact with infected farm animals, and occasionally through contaminated food.” ADWG 2011

2023: Bollon (Qld) Community Clinic. Lead

Heavy metals detected in water at Surat MPHS

August 29 2023 (Maranoa Today)

Low levels of lead, copper and nickel have been detected in the water supply and tapware of the Surat multipurpose health service, forcing staff to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and bathing infants.

The presence of heavy metals was discovered after a water quality audit at four facilities in the South West Hospital and Health Service, also including Quilpie and Dirranbandi MPHS and the Bollon Community Clinic.

In addition, a single tap at Roma Hospital recorded a low level of nickel that was slightly above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline for that metal.

It has been isolated, flushed and will be retested.

SWHHS acting chief executive Rebecca Greenway said the immediate health risks were minimal and the situation was being managed across the facilities.

“Although the levels of lead detected are low, they are still a little above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline of 0.01 mg/L (milligrams per litre) for lead,” Ms Greenway said.

“The levels at Quilpie and Bollon, for instance, were 0.024 mg/L. The others were even lower.

“The plumbing outlets at all four facilities where lead levels were detected have been labelled as not for use while we investigate further to determine the sources of contamination and that rectification works, if any, might be necessary.

“However, while we undertake these investigations and out of an abundance of caution because our multipurpose health services are also home to vulnerable residential aged care residents, we are now using bottled water for drinking, cooking and infant bathing at all four facilities.”

Ms Greenway said the use of water for other general washing purposes was safe as metal microparticles, such as lead, must be inhaled or ingested to present a health risk.

“Ingestion of lead can lead to health problems, with children and unborn babies more affected than adults,” she said.

“Physical contact with lead does not present a health risk.”

Ms Greenway said the water audit was undertaken in recent weeks as part of a state-wide advice from the Department of Health for all health facilities to test for heavy metals.

This follows the detection in May and June of lead in water supplies to the health facility, school, and kindergarten in the community of Yarrabah, near Cairns, as well as a health service building at Atherton Hospital.

“The quality of water supplies at all our other health facilities in the South West complied with all Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,” Ms Greenway said.

29/8/23: Roma Hospital. Nickel

Heavy metals detected in water at Surat MPHS

August 29 2023 (Maranoa Today)

Low levels of lead, copper and nickel have been detected in the water supply and tapware of the Surat multipurpose health service, forcing staff to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and bathing infants.

The presence of heavy metals was discovered after a water quality audit at four facilities in the South West Hospital and Health Service, also including Quilpie and Dirranbandi MPHS and the Bollon Community Clinic.

In addition, a single tap at Roma Hospital recorded a low level of nickel that was slightly above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline for that metal.

It has been isolated, flushed and will be retested.

SWHHS acting chief executive Rebecca Greenway said the immediate health risks were minimal and the situation was being managed across the facilities.

“Although the levels of lead detected are low, they are still a little above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline of 0.01 mg/L (milligrams per litre) for lead,” Ms Greenway said.

“The levels at Quilpie and Bollon, for instance, were 0.024 mg/L. The others were even lower.

“The plumbing outlets at all four facilities where lead levels were detected have been labelled as not for use while we investigate further to determine the sources of contamination and that rectification works, if any, might be necessary.

“However, while we undertake these investigations and out of an abundance of caution because our multipurpose health services are also home to vulnerable residential aged care residents, we are now using bottled water for drinking, cooking and infant bathing at all four facilities.”

Ms Greenway said the use of water for other general washing purposes was safe as metal microparticles, such as lead, must be inhaled or ingested to present a health risk.

“Ingestion of lead can lead to health problems, with children and unborn babies more affected than adults,” she said.

“Physical contact with lead does not present a health risk.”

Ms Greenway said the water audit was undertaken in recent weeks as part of a state-wide advice from the Department of Health for all health facilities to test for heavy metals.

This follows the detection in May and June of lead in water supplies to the health facility, school, and kindergarten in the community of Yarrabah, near Cairns, as well as a health service building at Atherton Hospital.

“The quality of water supplies at all our other health facilities in the South West complied with all Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,” Ms Greenway said.

29/8/23: Dirranbandi Multipurpose Health Service. Lead

Heavy metals detected in water at Surat MPHS

August 29 2023 (Maranoa Today)

Low levels of lead, copper and nickel have been detected in the water supply and tapware of the Surat multipurpose health service, forcing staff to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and bathing infants.

The presence of heavy metals was discovered after a water quality audit at four facilities in the South West Hospital and Health Service, also including Quilpie and Dirranbandi MPHS and the Bollon Community Clinic.

In addition, a single tap at Roma Hospital recorded a low level of nickel that was slightly above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline for that metal.

It has been isolated, flushed and will be retested.

SWHHS acting chief executive Rebecca Greenway said the immediate health risks were minimal and the situation was being managed across the facilities.

“Although the levels of lead detected are low, they are still a little above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline of 0.01 mg/L (milligrams per litre) for lead,” Ms Greenway said.

“The levels at Quilpie and Bollon, for instance, were 0.024 mg/L. The others were even lower.

“The plumbing outlets at all four facilities where lead levels were detected have been labelled as not for use while we investigate further to determine the sources of contamination and that rectification works, if any, might be necessary.

“However, while we undertake these investigations and out of an abundance of caution because our multipurpose health services are also home to vulnerable residential aged care residents, we are now using bottled water for drinking, cooking and infant bathing at all four facilities.”

Ms Greenway said the use of water for other general washing purposes was safe as metal microparticles, such as lead, must be inhaled or ingested to present a health risk.

“Ingestion of lead can lead to health problems, with children and unborn babies more affected than adults,” she said.

“Physical contact with lead does not present a health risk.”

Ms Greenway said the water audit was undertaken in recent weeks as part of a state-wide advice from the Department of Health for all health facilities to test for heavy metals.

This follows the detection in May and June of lead in water supplies to the health facility, school, and kindergarten in the community of Yarrabah, near Cairns, as well as a health service building at Atherton Hospital.

“The quality of water supplies at all our other health facilities in the South West complied with all Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,” Ms Greenway said.

29/8/23: Quilpie Multipurpose Health Centre. Lead

Heavy metals detected in water at Surat MPHS

August 29 2023 (Maranoa Today)

Low levels of lead, copper and nickel have been detected in the water supply and tapware of the Surat multipurpose health service, forcing staff to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and bathing infants.

The presence of heavy metals was discovered after a water quality audit at four facilities in the South West Hospital and Health Service, also including Quilpie and Dirranbandi MPHS and the Bollon Community Clinic.

In addition, a single tap at Roma Hospital recorded a low level of nickel that was slightly above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline for that metal.

It has been isolated, flushed and will be retested.

SWHHS acting chief executive Rebecca Greenway said the immediate health risks were minimal and the situation was being managed across the facilities.

“Although the levels of lead detected are low, they are still a little above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline of 0.01 mg/L (milligrams per litre) for lead,” Ms Greenway said.

“The levels at Quilpie and Bollon, for instance, were 0.024 mg/L. The others were even lower.

“The plumbing outlets at all four facilities where lead levels were detected have been labelled as not for use while we investigate further to determine the sources of contamination and that rectification works, if any, might be necessary.

“However, while we undertake these investigations and out of an abundance of caution because our multipurpose health services are also home to vulnerable residential aged care residents, we are now using bottled water for drinking, cooking and infant bathing at all four facilities.”

Ms Greenway said the use of water for other general washing purposes was safe as metal microparticles, such as lead, must be inhaled or ingested to present a health risk.

“Ingestion of lead can lead to health problems, with children and unborn babies more affected than adults,” she said.

“Physical contact with lead does not present a health risk.”

Ms Greenway said the water audit was undertaken in recent weeks as part of a state-wide advice from the Department of Health for all health facilities to test for heavy metals.

This follows the detection in May and June of lead in water supplies to the health facility, school, and kindergarten in the community of Yarrabah, near Cairns, as well as a health service building at Atherton Hospital.

“The quality of water supplies at all our other health facilities in the South West complied with all Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,” Ms Greenway said.

29/8/23: Surat Multipurpose Health Service. Lead, Copper, Nickel

Heavy metals detected in water at Surat MPHS

August 29 2023 (Maranoa Today)

Low levels of lead, copper and nickel have been detected in the water supply and tapware of the Surat multipurpose health service, forcing staff to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and bathing infants.

The presence of heavy metals was discovered after a water quality audit at four facilities in the South West Hospital and Health Service, also including Quilpie and Dirranbandi MPHS and the Bollon Community Clinic.

In addition, a single tap at Roma Hospital recorded a low level of nickel that was slightly above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline for that metal.

It has been isolated, flushed and will be retested.

SWHHS acting chief executive Rebecca Greenway said the immediate health risks were minimal and the situation was being managed across the facilities.

“Although the levels of lead detected are low, they are still a little above the Australian Drinking Water Guideline of 0.01 mg/L (milligrams per litre) for lead,” Ms Greenway said.

“The levels at Quilpie and Bollon, for instance, were 0.024 mg/L. The others were even lower.

“The plumbing outlets at all four facilities where lead levels were detected have been labelled as not for use while we investigate further to determine the sources of contamination and that rectification works, if any, might be necessary.

“However, while we undertake these investigations and out of an abundance of caution because our multipurpose health services are also home to vulnerable residential aged care residents, we are now using bottled water for drinking, cooking and infant bathing at all four facilities.”

Ms Greenway said the use of water for other general washing purposes was safe as metal microparticles, such as lead, must be inhaled or ingested to present a health risk.

“Ingestion of lead can lead to health problems, with children and unborn babies more affected than adults,” she said.

“Physical contact with lead does not present a health risk.”

Ms Greenway said the water audit was undertaken in recent weeks as part of a state-wide advice from the Department of Health for all health facilities to test for heavy metals.

This follows the detection in May and June of lead in water supplies to the health facility, school, and kindergarten in the community of Yarrabah, near Cairns, as well as a health service building at Atherton Hospital.

“The quality of water supplies at all our other health facilities in the South West complied with all Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,” Ms Greenway said.

29 Sep 2020: 100,000 fish killed at Fish Hatchery. Plenty River (Tasmania)

More than 100k fish killed at Salmon Ponds after ‘filthy substance’ spotted in Plenty River near trout hatchery

By April McLennan
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-29/plenty-river-salmon-ponds-pollution-fish-kill/12708252
The deaths of more than 100,000 fish at the Salmon Ponds trout hatchery in Tasmania’s south are being investigated.

A spokesperson from Primary Industries (DPIPWE) has confirmed 105,000 brown trout fry, 12,000 rainbow trout fry, 43 brook trout broodstock and 25 display fish were lost from the Salmon Ponds grounds.

Ken Orr from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party visited the ponds last Wednesday soon after the reports of the fish kill at the operation near the Plenty River.

“The ponds themselves had changed colour to a dirty brown and the smell was very evident,” he said.

“The Salmon Ponds are right on the river, and it’s a flow-through system, the water comes out of the Plenty River and through the Salmon Ponds, and back into the river.

“I went down to the river to have a look, and it was filthy and a greasy substance on the water, foam on the water.

“There were fish struggling for oxygen, whatever it was it was reducing the dissolved oxygen levels in the water and creating an issue for the fish.”

EPA searching for ‘substance’ source

Tasmania’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) was notified by the Inland Fisheries Service (IFS) of the fish kill on Wednesday afternoon.

EPA Director Wes Ford said as a result of the report, officers investigated further upstream.

“EPA officers identified that there had been a discharge of wastewater from the composting facility upstream of the salmon ponds,” he said.

“As a result of that, I issued an order for the composting facility to clean up that discharge of wastewater, and we are currently investigating the link between that discharge and the mortality of the trout in the salmon ponds.”

The upstream composting facility is authorised to receive liquid waste from a number of sources including Norske Skog paper sludge, pine bark and green waste.

Mr Ford said the composting operation also takes bio-solids, which is human sewage sludge.

“There are a number of services providers that are authorised to discharge their liquid waste into compost facilities,” he said.

“Waste from a range of different processing facilities in the primary industry sector in the state, that could be abattoirs, dairies, fish processing.

“It appears in this case the wastewater has been irrigated or sprayed onto some paddocks, and held in some bunded areas where one of the bunding areas appears to have ruptured or broken and the water then flowed into the river.”

The operator of the composting facility is in the process of ploughing the remaining wastewater into his paddock.

“I need to determine whether or not there have been any breaches of the legislation or the permit conditions,” Mr Ford said.

Despite being called the Salmon Ponds, most of the fish at the heritage hatchery are trout, with the first rainbow and brown trout in the Southern Hemisphere raised there in 1864.

For more than 100 years, the site has stocked lakes and dams around the state with over one million trout every year, but next season could be impacted by the death of some of these fish.

Bottled water brought in

Roderick Blair has lived on a property alongside the Plenty River for the past 22 years.

He received a call from a neighbour upstream to warn him of the pollutant.

“He called me at about two o’clock and said there was some sewage sludge heading your way, a plume of sewage sludge that they’d seen in the river,” he said.

“When I got home at five, the water at the bridge was a milky, coffee colour, it stank, had an odour of sewage.”

While there has been no official water alert, Mr Blair’s drinking water supply comes from the river so he said he had to buy bottled water.

He then filled up some drums at his parents’ house for livestock to drink.

“There was about half a dozen galaxias [fish] going along the edge of the riverbank looking for oxygen, they were coming up to the surface gasping,” Mr Blair said.

“It’s just disappointing that it happens in this day and age.

“It shouldn’t be happening in pristine water systems like it is in the Plenty River which leads into the Derwent River, which is above the Hobart water intake — it’s just ridiculous.”

‘Safe supply of water’ for drinking

The state’s water authority said about one per cent of the flow in the Derwent River is used for drinking water, so any small spills from the upper catchments is highly diluted by the river flows.

TasWater Department Manager Regional Services, Brendan Hanigan said the Bryn Estyn water treatment plant used chlorine dosing as the final disinfection process

“This system provides protection to ensure a safe supply of water for the customers of the greater Hobart area,” he said.

“We are unaware of any notification of a recent incident.

“In the event of any incident we work closely with the EPA on any issues that could potentially pose a risk to drinking water.”

River health ‘really important’

Concerns have also been raised about the health of the insect life, platypus, wild fish and eels in the river.

Elizabeth Cooper has lived on a property alongside the river for about 45 years and her 2,000 sheep and 200 head of cattle usually consume the water.

She said the river was generally very clear and you can “see the bottom.”

“The health of our river is really important for us for our long term management and we’ve looked after that river ever since we’ve been on that property,” she said.

“It has got a really healthy population of platypus, and native species of fish, and it’s important that we don’t wreck our environment.”

EPA investigating cause of pollution

Inland Fisheries Service (IFS), which manages the Salmon Ponds hatchery, reported an incident of polluted water to the EPA on Wednesday.

The EPA collected samples at the site and is continuing investigations.

Mr Orr said he had been calling for water sampling in the Plenty River for over a year, and described the incident as an “accident waiting to happen”.

“We can’t point the finger too much at the moment as to where this pollution occurred from, but we need some risk mitigation taking place on that river to protect this heritage site,” he said.

The EPA has asked DPIPWE to undertake a river health assessment.

The operator of the composting facility has been contacted for comment.

Tasmanian business owner Tim Jenkins in court over Plenty River pollution that caused mass fish kill

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-13/tasmanian-business-charged-over-environmental-pollution-plenty/101852488

A Tasmanian business owner has appeared in court for the first time after his company was charged with spilling waste material into the Plenty River, causing a significant fish kill.

In September 2020, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) served Jenkins Hire Pty Ltd — which operates a composting and waste storage facility in Plenty, north of Hobart — with a notice alleging it was responsible for pollutants entering a nearby waterway, killing fish in the river and at nearby properties which draw water from it.

An EPA and Department of Primary Industries (DPIPWE) investigation found pollutants in the river resulted in the deaths of 100,000 brown trout fry, 12,000 rainbow trout fry, 43 brook trout broodstock and 23 display fish at the Salmon Ponds trout hatchery, which is a few kilometres downstream from Jenkins Hire.

In its notice to the company, the EPA also raised concerns that some of the waste material at Jenkins Hire’s property had entered the soil, which risked further waste material entering the river during a rain event.

In total, the business — represented in court by owner Timothy Jenkins — is alleged to have committed 11 breaches of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act.

Those charges include polluting the environment intentionally or recklessly, and storing controlled waste in such a manner that it is reasonably likely it will escape into the environment.

The company is also facing allegations it stored controlled waste without authority, and has been using land for the disposal of general waste without authority.

The matter will return to the Hobart Magistrates Court on March 23.

 

8/8/18: Lake Trevallyn (Tasmania). Pesticide (Atrazine)

8/8/18: There was a detection of a pesticide (atrazine – 27 ug/L) above the ADWG health limit on 8 August  2018. This was the first detection of atrazine in Lake Trevallyn since sampling for pesticides began in  2015.
An error occurred with the laboratory notification process which resulted in this exceedance not  being highlighted, and therefore there was no immediate resample. However, there have been no  detections of atrazine in any samples since August 2018.

TasWater Annual Drinking Water Quality Report 2018-2019 Section A Summary

2020/22: Lake Barrington (Tasmania) – pH

Lake Barrington (Tasmania) – pH (alkaline)

2020/21: Lake Barrington (Tasmania) pH 7.9 (mean)

2021/22: Lake Barrington (Tasmania) pH 7.61 (mean)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

2021/22: Huon Valley (Tasmania) – Chlorine, Turbidity, pH

2021/22 – Huon Valley (Tasmania) – Chlorine

2021/22: Huon Valley (Tasmania). Chlorine residual 7.53mg/L (max), 0.7mg/L (mean)

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
Chlorine dissociates in water to form free chlorine, which consists of aqueous molecular chlorine, hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion. Chlorine and hypochlorites are toxic to microorganisms and are used extensively as disinfectants for drinking water supplies. Chlorine is also used to disinfect sewage and wastewater, swimming pool water, in-plant supplies, and industrial cooling water.

Chlorine has an odour threshold in drinking water of about 0.6 mg/L, but some people are particularly sensitive and can detect amounts as low as 0.2 mg/L. Water authorities may need to exceed the odour threshold value of 0.6 mg/L in order to maintain an effective disinfectant residual.

In the food industry, chlorine and hypochlorites are used for general sanitation and for odour control. Large amounts of chlorine are used in the production of industrial and domestic disinfectants and bleaches, and it is used in the synthesis of a large range of chemical compounds.

Free chlorine reacts with ammonia and certain nitrogen compounds to form combined chlorine. With ammonia, chlorine forms chloramines (monochloramine, dichloramine and nitrogen trichloride or trichloramine) (APHA 2012). Chloramines are used for disinfection but are weaker oxidising agents than free chlorine.

Free chlorine and combined chlorine may be present simultaneously (APHA 2012). The term totalchlorine refers to the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine present in a sample.

Chlorine (Free) ADWG Guideline: 5mg/L (Chlorine in chloraminated supplies 4.1mg/L). Chlorine dissociates in water to form free chlorine, which consists of aqueous molecular chlorine, hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion.

Chlorine (Total) ADWG Guideline 5mg/L (chloraminated supplies 4.1mg/L): The term total chlorine refers to the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine present in a sample

2021/21 – Huon Valley (Tasmania) – Turbidity

2020/21 – Huon Valley (Tasmania) – Turbidity 27NTU (max), 0.25NTU (mean)

Chlorine-resistant pathogen reduction: Where filtration alone is used as the water treatment
process to address identified risks from Cryptosporidium and Giardia, it is essential
that filtration is optimised and consequently the target for the turbidity of water leaving
individual filters should be less than 0.2 NTU, and should not exceed 0.5 NTU at any time
Disinfection: A turbidity of less than 1 NTU is desirable at the time of disinfection with
chlorine unless a higher value can be validated in a specific context.

Aesthetic: Based on aesthetic considerations, the turbidity should not exceed 5 NTU at the
consumer’s tap

Huon Valley (Tasmania) – pH (alkaline)

2019/20: Huon Valley (Tasmania) pH 7.63 (mean)

2020/21: Huon Valley (Tasmania) pH 7.52 (mean)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

21/4/20: Hobart Waterworks – E.coli

21/4/20 – Hobart Waterworks (Tasmania) – E.coli

21/4/20: Routine sample (21/04/2020) taken from WRSTE09 (Supply) detected 1.0 MPN/100mL E. coli. Department of Health (DoH) was notified. Extensive sampling undertaken, with all
subsequent samples clear of E. coli.

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

2020 March: Clarence/Midway Point Tasmania. E.vulneris

2020 March – Clarence/Midway Point (Tasmania) – E.vulernis

A water sample taken on 17 March 2020 at Midway Point was positive for E. coli. Subsequent samples were clear, and no further action was required. Reported to DoH
Subsequent sample clear of E.coli The original detection was reclassified as E.vulneris#
#E.vulneris: This bacterium can colonize in the respiratory tract, genital tract, stool, and urinary tract. However, P. vulneris is most often associated with wounds and has been known to colonize open wounds of both humans and animals. This association gave the bacterium its species name, vulneris, which is Latin for wound.

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

2021/22: Milikapiti (Northern Territory) – pH

Milikapiti (Northern Territory) – pH (acidic)

2021/22: Milikapiti (Northern Territory) 5.6pH (av)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

2021/22: Manyallaluk/Eva Valley (Northern Territory). pH, Lead

2021/22 Manyallaluk (Northern Territory) – Lead

2021/22: Manyallaluk (Northern Territory) Lead – Total 0.007mg/L

Lead Australian Drinking Water Guideline 0.01mg/L

“… Lead can be present in drinking water as a result of dissolution from natural sources, or from household plumbing systems containing lead. These may include lead in pipes, or in solder used to seal joints. The amount of lead dissolved will depend on a number of factors including pH, water hardness and the standing time of the water.

Lead is the most common of the heavy metals and is mined widely throughout the world. It is used in the production of lead acid batteries, solder, alloys, cable sheathing, paint pigments, rust inhibitors, ammunition, glazes and plastic stabilisers. The organo-lead compounds tetramethyl and tetraethyl lead are used extensively as anti-knock and lubricating compounds in gasoline…ADWG 2011

Manyallaluk (Northern Territory) – pH (acidic)

2021/22: Manyallaluk (Northern Territory) 5.1pH (av)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

March 13 2023: Wowan (Queensland). Poor Quality Water/Unpotable

Wowan residents push to get permanent drinking water supply after rainwater tanks run dry

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-03-13/central-queensland-town-wowan-pushing-for-drinking-water/102061676

Journalist: Katrina Beavan

Joelene Kapernick may have running water throughout her home, but she can’t drink it and says it’s not much use for anything.

The mum of four lives in Wowan, a small town in central Queensland with a population of about 200 people.

Wowan has a non-potable water supply that’s not suitable for drinking – instead, residents rely on rainwater tanks.

But in periods of drought, the tanks can run dry.

In the nine years Ms Kapernick has lived there with her family in a suburban home, she has had to truck in drinking water four times.

“It gets a bit much when we have six people living in our house, rainwater does not stretch far at all,” Ms Kapernick said.

“[Town water] is so bad. I don’t even know how much cutlery I’ve bought because it just rusts it if you try and wash up with it.

“It’s not even good for the toilet, [you should] see how many toilets are corroded around here.”

A spokesperson for the Banana Shire Council said building a desalination plant was too expensive, but the council was looking at other options to improve water quality.

Wowan is one of many small towns across rural Australia grappling with water security, though the extent of the problem is hard to quantify, a water security expert says.

Desalination plant too expensive

Fellow Wowan resident Robert Huston moved to town a couple of years ago and said it was not long before he noticed his clothes were being bleached in the wash.

“I don’t even feed it to my dogs, I give them rainwater from the tank,” Mr Huston said.

At the start of the year, he paid almost $5,000 to install a filtration system on the house so he could use the water for washing and showering.

He still doesn’t use it for drinking.

“I feel safer washing our clothes now. I don’t have to go to a laundromat,” he said.

Wowan’s bore has been moved multiple times since the town’s inception, and a council spokesperson said the council was looking at drilling a deeper bore in the next 12 months to try to improve water quality.

Residents like Ms Kapernick and Mr Huston said if quality could not be improved, then they wanted to see the cost of water dramatically reduced.

The council charges $1.96 a kilolitre for tier one supply in Wowan, and $2.38 for tier two.

However, the spokesperson said the council had to subsidise the supply as what it charged for the water did not cover the cost of extracting it.

Dylan Jones, who runs businesses in nearby Theodore and Dululu, is working to reopen his service station in Wowan after it was forced to close following storm damage in 2021.

Mr Jones said when it was operational, he had to use treated rainwater for the Wowan business, which was tested by the council.

When that was not available, he had to truck water in at a cost of thousands of dollars.

“That doesn’t last too long in a business … three months,” he said.

“If you haven’t got water, you haven’t got a business, you can’t serve coffees, you can’t clean.”

Water security data unknown

Less than 50 kilometres from Wowan, water is still being trucked into the town of Mount Morgan, which has struggled through drought for several years.

A pipeline to secure a permanent potable water supply to the town is now being built.

Ana Manero, with the Water Justice Hub and the Australian National University Crawford School of Public Policy, said the exact number of areas struggling with drinking water security was not known.

“We have a lot of anecdotal evidence that this is happening across Australia, [but] we are still unable to know how many people do not have access to safe drinking water, which quite frankly, is astonishing,” Dr Manero said.

“We don’t have a systematic centralised record of water quality in Australia.

“[Australia has] the technology, not only to deliver the services, but to monitor and report the places that are not meeting those targets.”

Dr Manero said a survey from the Water Justice Hub found there was a “high level of support” among the Australian population, even from those not affected by water security issues, to have drinking water supplies secured for everyone.

 

March/Dec 2023: Orange/Cadia Mine. Lead, Mercury in Rainwater Tanks

Rainwater tank testing near NSW’s Cadia gold mine finds unsafe levels of mercury

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/22/cadia-gold-mind-water-tank-testing-mercury-levels-dangerous

An independent study of rainwater tanks near the Cadia goldmine in central west New South Wales has detected unsafe levels of mercury in some residents’ drinking water, nine months after widespread water testing conducted by NSW Health found no unsafe results.

The results come from an independent testing program conducted by Dr Ian Wright through the Cadia Community Sustainability Network (CCSN), which took water samples from kitchen taps and the top and bottom of rainwater tanks at 42 properties near the mine, between August and November 2023.

Mercury was found in half of the 40 samples taken from the bottom of the rainwater tanks, and of those samples, two exceeded the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines for mercury, which is less than 1.0 micrograms per litre. The guidelines are the national basis for determining safe water quality.

Mercury was also detected in nine samples taken from the tops of tanks, and eight from kitchen taps. None of these samples exceeded the guidelines.

The findings have prompted some local residents to ask the environmental regulator to re-test rainwater tanks, as water levels drop over summer.

It’s the fifth round of testing conducted by Wright and CCSN, whose initial test results released in March 2023 sparked an investigation by the NSW Environment Protection Authority and a round of water testing by NSW Health, the EPA, and ALS, an independent company contracted by Cadia. Cadia is owned by Australia-based Newmont Corporation, one of the world’s biggest gold miners.

The EPA this month said the results of the tank and soil tests in Cadia Valley were “typical” of Australian rainwater tanks, a characterisation the community rejects. The EPA found only four of 97 samples exceeded the guideline limits for any contaminant, and attributed that contamination to “domestic and local sources”. It then stressed the importance of cleaning tanks.

Wright, who is a member of the EPA’s Cadia expert advisory panel and an academic at Western Sydney University, has long argued that the methodology used by regulatory authorities to test rainwater tanks is not adequate because it does not test the whole water column. He said the latest results show the problem lurks at the bottom of the tanks, where sediment-enriched water accumulates.

Lead was found in all of the samples from the bottom of the tanks. Of the 43 tanks, 41 exceeded the Australian drinking water guidelines for lead, and eight by more than 100 times the guidelines. Arsenic, manganese and nickel also exceeded the guideline values in a number of samples taken from the bottom of tanks.

In a statement, CCSN said it had previously found mercury in “many tanks” in a community testing program conducted in December last year, and it said the priority should be determining the mercury’s source.

CCSN said it would be appropriate to retest water tanks as water levels drop over summer.

“We would also like to see a comparative study of contamination in water tanks in rural areas without a mine,” a spokesperson said. “This study needs to consider the amount of contamination as well as the concentration in the sediment.”

The group said also many of the rainwater tanks in the area had been cleaned prior to the latest round of water testing, and it was frustrating for the onus to be on residents to clean tanks rather than the authorities determining the source of the contamination.

Samples collected by NSW Health and ALS on behalf of Cadia in separate investigations conducted earlier this year were analysed also for mercury but no samples were found to have exceeded the guideline limits.

The EPA’s testing program detected mercury in one kitchen tap sample at levels below Australian drinking water guidelines, as well as in the sediment samples taken from some tanks.

Dr Larissa Schneider, an associate professor at the Australian National University and convener of research group Mercury Australia, said more testing should be done.

“The fact that [mercury] has reached guidelines values invites the government to do further studies,” she said. “That’s what the guidelines are there for.”

Schneider said it wasn’t clear whether the mercury was organic – which poses a higher risk to human health – or inorganic. Inorganic mercury, which is the kind typically released by the mining industry, is not as easily absorbed but is “still toxic”, she said.

She said this was why it was important to test for certain bacteria in tanks, which can help convert inorganic to organic mercury.

A pollution incident response management plan for Cadia released in June identified mercury as a potential pollutant from the mine, although not at levels that exceeded clean air regulations.

Guardian Australia understands that the Cadia East Project approval explicitly prohibits the use of mercury or cyanide. Mercury is not a by-product of mining at Cadia but occurs naturally in rock within the district.

The EPA said Cadia is required to comply with the Protection of the Environment Operations (Clean Air) regulations, which set maximum concentration limits of air emissions for Type 1 and 2 substances, including mercury.

“While the presence of metals, including mercury, in sediment or bottom water can be concerning for the community, there is currently no evidence of an exposure pathway from sediment through drinking water,” a spokesperson for the EPA said.

“Any potential exposure can be further limited by regularly cleaning sediment from rainwater tanks.”

Video – Aug 8 2023: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-08/regional-new-south-wales-residents-questioning-the/102704674

Heads of Cadia Newcrest gold mine front inquiry, apologise over ‘breakdown’ in community relations

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-18/cadia-gold-mine-alleged-pollution-nsw-inquiry/102867192

The head of a New South Wales mine facing criminal charges has used a public inquiry to apologise to residents near Australia’s biggest gold operation after they raised health concerns about dust coming from its site.

A NSW Upper House Inquiry is investigating the impacts of lead, zinc, gold and silver mining on human and environmental health.

The hearing was triggered by alleged dust pollution breaches at Orange’s Cadia gold mine, owned by Newcrest Mining, and the discovery of heavy metals in nearby residents’ blood and rainwater.

The source of the heavy metals is subject to an investigation by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

On Monday, the Newcrest Mining interim chief executive Sherry Duhe and Cadia Valley Operations general manager Michael Dewar faced questioning before the inquiry.

“We haven’t always gotten things right,” Ms Duhe said.

“Recently we’ve seen a breakdown in our relationship with some of our neighbours and we know they have concerns.

“We could have listened more and communicated better and for this we are sorry.”

Concerned neighbours took it upon themselves in July to have their drinking water and blood tested.

The EPA has launched criminal proceedings against Newcrest Mining in the Land and Environment Court over an alleged breach of section 128 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.

Nearby resident feels ‘deserted’

Frances Retallack’s farm is near the Cadia Valley mine and is vice president the Cadia Community Sustainability Network.

She said NSW Health told local doctors not to proactively test residents for heavy metal contamination, and instead wait until there were potential symptoms indicating it.

“We’ve been deserted by the agency you would expect to prioritise our health … completely threw our community under the bus,” Ms Retallack said.

“It was horrifying.”

She said a human health impact assessment found the area has double the lung disease incidence compared to NSW.

“We’ve repeatedly as a community talked about ‘do we have a cancer cluster?’,” she said.

“Just anecdotally, ‘Oh there’s another brain cancer, there’s another leukaemia’, and I shouldn’t know this many people who have these sorts of things.”

Water tests not adequate, expert says

Ian Wright, an associate professor of environmental science at Western Sydney University, told the committee he tested water tanks on 10 properties in the Cadia Valley in August this year.

“All 10 supplies received results showing lead at concentrations above the Australian drinking water guidelines. All 10. 100 per cent,” Dr Wright said.

“The US EPA does not recommend there is a safe level for lead.”

He said one tank exceeded the guidelines by 110 times and another by 140 times.

Dr Wright said he “strongly suspects” dust from the mine was falling on rooves and being washed into tanks.

He said water tests by the EPA and NSW Health were not adequate as they failed to test the bottom of the tanks.

“In my opinion their sampling was not fit for purpose and underestimated the health risks for users,” he said.

Mr Dewar said there was no evidence it was emitting dangerous levels of dust outside of the mine’s boundaries when concerns about emissions were raised.

“None of our external monitors suggesting we were polluting off the premises,” Mr Dewar said.

‘Our very strong aim is to never be penalised’: mine

Greens member of the legislative council, Cate Faehrmann, told the hearing the mine had been fined three times for breaches of dust pollution, at a total cost of $45,000.

Ms Faehrmann said Newcrest made $778 million in the last financial year.

“That’s the cost of doing business, isn’t it?” she said.

Ms Duhe replied that the company does not “see any sort of trade-off between fines and profitability”.

“In fact our very strong aim is to never be penalised and to always be in compliance,” she said.

The company uses large bags to capture dust in its underground operation, which have the capacity to hold several hundred kilograms of material.

“It’ll be more than one bag [a day],” Mr Dewar said.

Community engagement ‘inadequate’

NSW EPA chief executive, Tony Chappel, conceded the regulator had failed to work with, or listen to community concerns in the past.

“The way we’ve historically engaged with the community has been inadequate and probably contributes to unnecessary stress and anxiety,” Mr Chappel told the committee.

He said there had been several changes in EPA leadership and executive roles recently to shift its focus.

He conceded some mine operators may consider fines simply as a cost of business.

“I think they’re certainly fearful of both losing their social licence to operate but their literal licences as well.”

The NSW Minerals Council said responsible mining underpins the transition to net-zero targets.

Ms Faehrmann said the state government did not list any of the four minerals being investigated as critical to the energy transition.

The mineral council’s chief executive Stephen Galilee rejected that notion.

“Whether they’re on a government list or not, try doing it without them,” he said.

“That pathway to net-zero is not possible without what is being extracted out of the ground.”

The inquiry will also examine recent approvals of a lead mine in the Mudgee district and a gold project at Blayney, near Bathurst.

Susannah White is from Lue, near Mudgee, where the recently approved Bowdens Silver Project will be built.

She said the planning system favours projects getting approval, at the expense of communities.

“It’s stacked against you financially, it’s stacked against you — in terms of your human resource ability to deal with the proposals.

“You really do get the feeling that you’re in a process that is a process to get to ‘yes’.”

Those Central West mines are situated near towns and on agricultural land.

The inquiry is trying to get to the bottom of dealing with the increased need for critical minerals to reach net zero targets while limiting the impacts on humans and the environment.

The hearing will continue in October.

Newcrest Cadia gold mine report confirms lead contamination connection to rainwater tanks

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-09-11/newcrest-cadia-gold-mine-report-lead-contamination-rainwater/102820632

A report commissioned by a gold mine in central west NSW has confirmed lead matching its ore has been found in the rainwater tanks of Orange district residents.

The Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) was commissioned by Newcrest’s Cadia Valley Operations as part of a raft of regulatory requirements in the wake of the mine being found to be non-compliant by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Residents living in the mine district have been reporting dust events since 2018, when a dam holding mining waste called tailings failed.

The HHRA identified that point of use water, such as kitchen tap or tank tap, was the largest risk factor for heavy metal exposure and recommended that tank maintenance and monitoring “guidance is followed”.

Released to the public on September 1, the report concludes that the “potential risks to human health from emissions from CVO is low and acceptable”.

Lead matches Cadia

The report recaps independent studies commissioned by the mine to predict community exposure to date, including a tailings dust study, micro particle shed and lead fingerprinting work done by the University of South Australia.

Lead fingerprinting allows lead to be traced to its source using isotopic signatures.

Under the lead fingerprinting section, the report mentions that lead matching Cadia’s isotopic signature was found in 40 per cent of tank sludge samples collected by Newcrest.

This contradicts the mine’s July press release that stated there was “no evidence linking Cadia to the lead sampled in district rainwater tanks”.

In a statement, the report’s author said: “The information presented in the report is accurate based on available information at the time of completion of the report”.

Newcrest did not comment on why the HHRA report included information that contradicted previous communication by the company.

“The findings of the Human Health Risk Assessment conducted by Sage Environmental shows that Cadia is operating within established health standards, and the potential risk of emissions to human health is low,” it said in a statement.

Cadia Community Sustainability Network chair Gem Green said the changing messages had undermined the community’s trust.

“The process with Newcrest and Cadia over the last several months has completely destroyed the relationship with the community,” Mrs Green said

Twice state average

Using national health data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the assessment built a picture of the health of the Blayney and Orange districts that flank the mine and compared them to the wider region.

It did this to “accurately assess the potential impact of the CVO operations on the population”.

Statistics showed premature respiratory mortality rates for the Orange district were double the state average, and rates for Blayney were approaching double. Childhood asthma rates were also elevated.

Mrs Green said regulators weren’t doing enough.

“We have an entire district which appears to have significantly worse outcomes than surrounding areas,” Mrs Green said.

“In that context shouldn’t we expect the regulators to be doing everything possible to reduce emissions from all sources?”

In a statement, an EPA spokesperson said the Independent Health Risk Assessment was “extensive” and was under review by the watchdog.

“We required Cadia to have this assessment peer reviewed before its submission and the EPA will now have its own technical specialists review the report before it is provided to our independent expert panel for advice,” the spokesperson said.

“All reporting and monitoring provided by Cadia is closely interrogated by the EPA.”

Inquiry to look at communication

A parliamentary inquiry into the impacts of metal mining on health, water and air was announced in July with the committee expected to table its findings in November.

Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann, who will chair the inquiry, said it would closely examine how Newcrest had communicated pollution incidents to the community.

“This is critical to the committee being able to make recommendations to government, including where the law needs to be strengthened,” Ms Faehrmann said.

She said there was very little oversight when it came to mining companies’ public communication.

Water tank testing reveals heavy metal levels in residents’ drinking supply

July 28 2023: https://www.watoday.com.au/environment/conservation/water-tank-testing-reveals-heavy-metal-levels-in-residents-drinking-supply-20230728-p5dryv.html (Laura Chung)

Water samples from the properties surrounding one of Australia’s largest gold mines have failed to show the presence of widespread heavy metals, an investigation by the NSW environmental watchdog has revealed.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) completed water testing for more than 85 properties in the Cadia Valley following concerns from residents that pollution from the mine was affecting their health.

EPA officers collected and tested water samples from household kitchen taps and water tanks and compared them to the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Most results from kitchen tap samples showed metal concentrations below the guideline values.

At two properties, lead was detected at or marginally above the accepted level of lead from samples taken in the kitchen tap, but water tank samples from the same properties were below guideline values.

Water tank samples showed six properties had levels of lead above the guideline’s values, while kitchen tap samples at these properties were below guideline values.

Once all tests from the water sampling program are completed, comparisons will be made with water sampling results previously undertaken by NSW Health, industry and the community. The EPA’s and NSW Health’s expert panels will consider the results.

Earlier this year, residents self-tested their tank water and found that, of the 68 samples, 15 were 10 times the safe lead level recommended by the Australian drinking water guidelines. As yet, there is no proven link between the mine and these complaints.

The EPA’s results come just days after a parliamentary inquiry was announced that will investigate the current and future impacts of gold, silver, lead and zinc mining on human health, as well as the effects on land, water and air quality. The inquiry will also examine regulatory framework, rehabilitation and decommissioning practices.

The EPA has also begun a separate extensive air monitoring program in the Cadia Valley.

In an update to investors earlier on Tuesday, Cadia’s owners, Newcrest, said a 12-month study conducted by the federal government’s Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation had found Cadia was meeting air quality standards for the mine’s surrounding region, and had highlighted that metals including lead, nickel, selenium and chromium did not exceed national standards, occurring at “very low levels”.

Mining inquiry to examine pollution impacts on health

July 26 2023: https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/mining-inquiry-to-examine-pollution-impacts-on-health-20230725-p5dr0c.html (Laura Chung)

The mining industry has been put on notice with a parliamentary inquiry to examine whether it is contaminating NSW residents and if regulations should be strengthened in response.

The NSW upper house inquiry will investigate the current and future impacts of gold, silver, lead and zinc mining on human health, as well as the effects on land, water and air quality.

The catalyst for the investigation arose from Central West residents’ concerns that pollution from the Cadia Mine – one of Australia’s largest gold mines, just outside Orange – was affecting their health, as reported by the Herald this month.

Some in the community believe dust from the mine has been allowed to drift across the region and pollute local drinking water. Residents tested their tank water earlier this year and found, of the 68 samples, 15 were 10 times the safe lead level recommended by the Australian drinking water guidelines.

Residents claim that children have broken out in rashes and their nails have become rough, ridged and slightly deformed. As yet, there is no proven link between the mine and these complaints.

A spokesperson for the Cadia Community Sustainability Network, a group that aims to work with the mine to find a way to live and work together, said the group welcomed the inquiry and looked forward to sharing their lived experiences.

Terms of reference for upper house inquiry

That Portfolio Committee No. 2 inquire into and report on current and future impacts of gold, silver, lead and zinc mining on human health, land, air and water quality in New South Wales, in particular:

a. The impact on the health of local residents and mine workers, including through biomagnification and bioaccumulation,

b. The impact on catchments and waterways, affecting both surface and groundwater destined for, local and town water supplies, including rainwater tanks, and on aquatic biodiversity,

c. The impact on land and soil, crops and livestock, including through biomagnification and bioaccumulation,

d. The adequacy of the response and any compliance action taken by the regulatory

authorities in response to complaints and concerns from communities affected by mining activities,

The effectiveness of the current regulatory framework in terms of monitoring, compliance, risk management and harm reduction from mining activities,

f. The effectiveness of current decommissioning and rehabilitation practices in safeguarding human health and the environment,

g. The effectiveness of New South Wales Government agencies to regulate and improve outcomes including:

  • the measurement, reporting and public awareness,
  • the provision of various protective materials,
  • the ability to ensure the health of at-risk groups
  • the suitability of work health and safety regulations, and  the capacity to respond within existing resources,
  • the adequacy of existing work, health and safety standards for workers,
  • whether the regulatory framework for heavy metals and critical minerals mining is fit for purpose and able to ensure that the positive and negative impacts of heavy metals and critical minerals mining on local communities, economies (including job creation) and the environment are appropriately balanced.

i. Any other related matters.

2. The committee reports on its findings by 21 November 2023.

An investigation by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) into the residents’ claims is ongoing, with the mine’s owner, Newcrest, separately addressing the matter. The EPA has previously threatened to suspend the mine’s licence when the agency found “an unacceptable level of dust” coming from the mine.

In an update to investors earlier on Tuesday, Newcrest said a 12-month study conducted by the federal government’s Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation had found Cadia was meeting air quality standards for the mine’s surrounding region, and had highlighted that metals including lead, nickel, selenium and chromium did not exceed national standards, occurring at “very low levels”.

A Newcrest spokesperson said in response to the announcement of the parliamentary inquiry that the company welcomed the chance to talk about its operations.

“Mining safely, responsibly and sustainably is what our communities expect of us and what we demand of ourselves. Health and safety isn’t an option for our company, it’s a pre-requisite,” the spokesperson said.

Chair of the inquiry and Greens MP Dr Amanda Cohn said the inquiry would “examine whether there is an appropriate balance between the mining activities undertaken in this state and the health and wellbeing of communities and environmental areas impacted by those activities”.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann said she expected strong engagement from multiple communities facing the prospect of heavy mining nearby.

“With one gold mine and a silver and lead mine having recently been approved in regional NSW, we must ensure that every measure is taken to protect human health and the environment. If this can’t be guaranteed, then the mines should not progress,” she said.

“Our regulatory framework protects global mining companies more than it does local communities and the environment. This is clearly unacceptable, and I certainly hope that we’ll come up with some recommendations to redress this imbalance.”

Claims from the Cadia community have spooked residents in Lue, about 30 kilometres from Mudgee. In April, the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) approved a new silver, zinc and lead mine. The Bowdens Silver mine owner – Silver Mines Limited – is set to produce about 3.4 million ounces of silver a year, as well as 6900 tonnes of zinc and 5100 tonnes of lead. Nearby McPhillamys Gold Project has also received approval from the IPC.

Lue resident and fifth-generation farmer Tom Combes said the inquiry meant small communities were being heard.

“I am delighted that [we’re] finally getting some reaction. We are fighting huge companies that are raising money through hedge funds. We are [funding] it through cake stores and trivia stores. That’s just not a fair playing field. The government needs to get more involved.”

The inquiry will also examine regulatory framework, rehabilitation and decommissioning practices – an issue that will become increasingly important as mines and other fossil fuel-intensive projects across Australia wind down. In the Hunter Valley alone, about 17 coal mines may close in the next 20 years.

The Herald reported this month that, despite strict regulations, there are many gaps in the mining rehabilitation. Western Sydney University professor Ian Wright, who has worked with residents near Cadia to test their tank water independently, said the inquiry was welcome news.

“The whole country is littered with closed mines that have inadequate rehabilitation,” he said.

The inquiry will provide its findings by November 2023.

Newcrest’s lead contamination claims ‘inconsistent’ with expert report findings, its author says

July 21 2023: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jul/21/newcrest-cadia-hill-lead-contamination-expert-report-findings (Fleur Connick)

Prof Brian Gulson says Cadia Hill goldmine could not be ruled in or out as the source of the lead, despite miner saying there was ‘no evidence’

An expert who analysed rainwater samples for possible lead contamination from Newcrest’s Cadia Hill goldmine says the company’s public interpretation of his report is “inconsistent” with his findings.

Newcrest commissioned Prof Brian Gulson from Macquarie University to conduct a lead isotopic analysis of water and sediment samples taken from 145 residential properties in the region and compare those with the lead found in the mine’s ore.

Commissioning the independent analysis was one of the conditions of a variation to Newcrest’s mining licence, ordered by the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority in June as part of an investigation into emissions from the mine. It followed reports by some community members that independent testing of their water tanks had found high levels of heavy metals, including lead.

The samples were collected in March and April. Guardian Australia understands that Newcrest provided 88 sediment samples and 16 water samples – 12 from rainwater tanks and four from the kitchen tap – to the University of South Australia for lead isotopic fingerprinting, a tracing technique used to identify the possible sources of lead.

Newcrest said that only the water samples that returned readings for lead above the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines of 0.01mg/L were sent for isotopic fingerprinting.

Gulson’s report analysing those results was published last Friday.

In a press release on Wednesday, Newcrest said the report found “no evidence” linking Cadia to the lead in the samples. It also claimed the report said 74 of the 88 sediment or sludge samples had “no correlation” to the lead samples taken from Cadia’s ore.

The remaining 14 samples exhibited “similar characteristics” to the lead samples from the mine’s ore and soil in the district, Newcrest said. Those samples also “recorded the lowest concentration of lead amongst all the sludge samples”.

“It’s clear to us in the [report’s] conclusion that there is no evidence linking Cadia to the lead that was found in the samples in the tanks that we tested,” the Cadia Valley Operations general manager, Mick Dewar, told Guardian Australia.

He added that the company does “note and acknowledge” Gulson’s comments in the report that the lead characteristics of the mine’s ore and the lead found in regional soil samples “could not be discriminated”.

“In addition to that, it was noted that there were no other markers or pointers suggesting that Cadia could be linked, such as a higher propensity of concentrations close to the mine,” Dewar said.

“There was no relationship there that suggests that the inability to discriminate between those two characteristics was anything other than no tangible link.”

Gulson, who is an expert in lead analysis, said the “claim about ‘no evidence’ is inconsistent” with his findings.

It is also inconsistent with Newcrest’s own fact sheet on the report, which says that due to the overlapping signatures “the source [of lead] could not be determined”.

“The ore field [lead] signature is in 12 of the 13 soil samples,” Gulson said.

He recommended a more comprehensive soil lead isotope testing program should be undertaken, given the “dominant” lead signature from the mine.

“You need more information, more data to try and get that relationship between either the mining operations or the soil,” he said.

Gulson said the report’s findings were inconclusive but did not rule out a connection to the ore from the mine. Of the water samples analysed, nine of 12 rainwater tanks samples and one of four kitchen tap samples were found to have lead isotopes matching Cadia’s ore.

Of the 88 sediment samples, 14 matched the lead isotope from Cadia’s ore and 74 were found to be consistent with lead “derived from a mixture” of sources, including the mine’s ore, rocks and soil, and lead from other contaminants such as petrol, batteries and paint.

But Gulson said “there was not enough data or hardly any data” to determine the source of lead found in the tanks.

“The important thing is that there was the [lead] fingerprint in some of the sludge samples [that] coincided with the ore field signature, but that didn’t necessarily prove that it actually came from the ore samples themselves,” he said.

“You can’t distinguish whether or not it’s the signature coming from the ore, the mining operation or out of a vent … or whether it’s soil that’s blown in on to the roofs and then finished up in the sludge. And at the moment, you can’t really say which is which.”

Newcrest is yet to provide the EPA with the chemical analysis of samples taken from the mine’s main crusher dust vent. That report is due at the end of July.

Due to his concerns around the accuracy of data and methodology in the report, Gulson recommended measuring a suite of samples with more precise methods to validate the data already accumulated.

Dewar said that while the company is “actively reviewing and considering” Gulson’s recommendations, it is “not inclined to pursue” them.

He said the company was taking “a broader viewpoint” of concerns about its emissions.

“In terms of narrowing the focus down to Cadia’s contribution to that lead, we’re satisfied with Prof Gulson’s report, with the Todoroski air modelling, with the Ansto modelling, with our boundary PM 10 monitoring and TDS modelling, that there is no evidence supporting that link,” Dewar said.

Taken together, Dewar said, those studies “strongly suggest that there is no evidence that we are creating a risk” to the community’s health.

“We think we’ve done the work to demonstrate that now,” he said.

The EPA told Guardian Australia it was currently reviewing the report, which will inform its regulatory activity. “Where appropriate, we will seek advice from our recently established expert panel to inform any future monitoring,” a spokesperson said.

Cadia Gold Mine near Orange ordered to fix dust pollution after heavy metals found in locals’ blood, water

May 30 2023: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-30/cadia-gold-mine-dust-pollution-deadline/102406512

Cadia Gold Mine in central western New South Wales has been given a series of deadlines to show it is complying with its obligations to prevent air pollution.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued a final prevention notice, outlining the steps that must be taken to reduce emissions from the site and reassure the community.

The action was prompted by blood and water testing that was ordered by local residents and returned high levels of heavy metals like lead, nickel and selenium.

Cadia has just over a week to provide an interim report on emissions from an air vent which has been a cause of concern for residents.

It must then present a final report on sampling of this vent shaft two weeks later.

“The sampling within the vent has to be undertaken by highly trained skilled operators,” EPA executive director Carmen Dwyer said.

“That data will be provided to the EPA and we will draw our own conclusions from that data.”

The details of the final pollution prevention notice have heartened the local community but residents say they are concerned about the sampling methods being used.

“The community now has a timeline to watch and observe and see what the reports and the results come back as,” Cadia Community Sustainability Network chair Gem Green said.

“There are still a few muddy areas of who’s collecting what and how that will be processed and how that will be reported on.

“We’ll be keeping in close touch with the EPA to get a more definitive interpretation of how that will be done.”

District monitoring

The mine must simultaneously review its existing air sampling network and produce a report identifying suitable locations for more units to be installed in the district.

Ms Dwyer said the air monitoring sites would be decided in consultation with Cadia and the community.

“We have a look at dispersion modelling and climatic modelling and we talk to our experts about where that should occur,” she said.

“We’re also talking with the community to understand from their perspective with their local knowledge where should some of this stuff happen.

“The EPA is looking at what monitoring needs to occur within the community and sampling to provide that assurance to the community that are living with clean air and clean water.”

Health concerns

The Cadia Community Sustainability Network said many residents were still concerned about what to do to protect their health while the mine was given time to comply with its regulatory obligations.

“Health-wise, people are still very unsure what to do … we’re obviously encouraging them to get a health assessment conducted,” Ms Green said.

“We’re probably in a little touch of no man’s land at the moment, just with different government agencies sort of speaking with the community, and in the short term the community does need its water tanks cleaned and refilled.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Cadia Gold Mine said it was cooperating with the EPA and already had work in progress to ensure it complied with the prevention notice.

“We do not compromise on people’s health and safety and remain firmly committed to meeting all our obligations in a way that is aligned with our values,” the spokesperson said.

EPA holds information session for residents as Cadia heavy metal contamination probe begins

May 23 2023: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-23/epa-gold-mine-heavy-metal-contamination-probe-in-nsw/102383008

One day after announcing an investigation into Cadia Valley gold mine, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has held a community information session in the village of Millthorpe, New South Wales.

More than 40 residents attended after learning that heavy metals had been discovered in people’s drinking water and bloodstreams.

Representatives from the EPA and NSW Health were on hand to hear concerns and provide advice at the session, which EPA chief executive Tony Chappel said was “extremely valuable”.

“They were appreciative we were there to listen to their concerns and discuss the actions we’re taking into the mine and their activities,” he said.

Most came seeking practical answers, including young mum Kayley Woods-Pendergast.

“I was wanting to know, are we safe to shower in [the water]?” she said.

As the mother of a toddler, Mrs Woods-Pendergast is especially concerned about exposure to lead.

She said she appreciated the session but hoped there would be more support to follow.

“I think what they’re doing today is a great start, but I think there’s definitely more they could be doing,” Mrs Woods-Predergast said.

For some, the opportunity to get tested was particularly important.

Stephanie Luke drove from Bathurst to learn how her rain-fed drinking water supply could be tested.

She said she had experienced unexplained health issues for several years.

“I’m quite curious about whether it’s got to do with environmental elements,” Ms Luke said.

“I’m about to have my water tested and I’m getting my bloods tested as well.”

Ms Luke was surprised companies such as Cadia were not legally required to submit weekly air pollution reports and said she felt let down by regulators.

“To hear stories of people, at their own expense, dragging authorities kicking and screaming and [for] the company to acknowledge that there’s an issue, I feel like we’re in some bizarre backwater,” she said.

Russell, who asked that his surname not be published, was only made aware there was an issue in his district that morning.

Because his household relies exclusively on rainwater, he was eager to arrange water tests that would establish a baseline for the quality of his drinking water.

Russell felt grateful for transparency the event gave the community.

“[That] we can have opportunities like this and find out from the people who are the checks and balances what’s going on, what’s proposed and if there’s a role that we can have to help, so that we’re not stopping progress, but that the progress is responsible,” he said.

EPA to probe Cadia gold mine after heavy metals found in residents’ blood, rainwater

May 22 2023: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-22/epa-probe-cadia-gold-mine-heavy-metal-contamination-claims/102374344

When her daughter started suffering severe skin reactions, Sophie Reynolds tried everything to try to ease the symptoms and find the source.

Ms Reynolds says the sores on her 10-year-old extended across her face and behind her ears.

Simultaneously, the family had been noticing plumes of dust blow onto their property from the direction of the Cadia gold mine near Orange, New South Wales.

When the family had the drinking water from the rainwater tank tested high levels of lead were found.

“As soon as we got those results, I said ‘I am not touching that water,'” Ms Reynolds said.

She started buying bottled water and travelled to Orange to shower and do laundry.

“Two days after I started washing [my daughter’s] face with the town water, the redness went,” Ms Reynolds said.

“Some of the sores were so deep, it took a week and a half [to heal].”

The Reynoldses are among a group of residents living near Cadia Valley Operations (CVO) who have been concerned about dust lifting off the site since 2018.

A section of wall on one of CVO’s tailings storages facility, which holds mining by-products, sustained damage in the same year.

In 2021 the mine’s expansion plans were approved and it vowed to make improvements to address concerns about dust.

Dozens of families have now had their blood and rainwater tested and the results show high levels of heavy metals such as lead, nickel and selenium.

‘It’s water vapour’

On Monday, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) announced it has launched an investigation into the mine.

The EPA has issued a draft pollution prevention notice and a draft licence variation regarding the emission of dust and other pollutants from the site.

Chief executive Tony Chappel said he had also written to the NSW chief health officer asking for a full health-risk analysis to determine whether the mine dust was impacting the community’s health.

“Industry has strict obligations to meet clean air standards and currently Cadia appears to be falling well short of our expectations,” Mr Chappel said.

“Last week the EPA received new evidence from the community to suggest actions by the mine to reduce dust pollution have not been effective.”

The notices require the mine to retest a vent and extend an ambient air sampling network.

The EPA has given CVO until Tuesday to respond to the draft notices.

In a statement, Cadia’s acting general manager, Mick Dewar, said the company took seriously the concerns raised by members of the community.

“Nothing is more important than people’s health and safety, and we remain firmly committed to making sure that we meet all of our statutory obligations and do it in a way that is aligned with our values,” Mr Dewar said.

He said the mine had already started a human health risk assessment, a drinking water sampling program, a lead testing program and 12-month dust fingerprinting program through the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

Mr Reynolds said he was previously assured by CVO that there was no dust pollution.

“The constant comment back was, ‘It’s water vapour, Bruce,'” he said.

The Reynolds family’s blood tests showed high levels of the heavy metal selenium.

“I am so worried about the future for my daughter and for all the children around here,” Ms Reynolds said.

“All the families — you’ve got babies, you’ve got pregnant women.

“We can’t stop breathing — we know it’s landing on our roof, because it’s in the air.”

‘It’s horrendous’

The ABC has seen blood test results from several other residents who live near CVO.

The most common elevated heavy metals are selenium and nickel.

Jann Harries, whose property is one of the closest to CVO, says the community’s relationship with the mine has deteriorated in recent years because of the dust.

“[You can] taste, smell and see the dust,” she said.

“It comes over the valley — you can see it coming across the hill behind us.

“Windows are open and we get a dust cover on the benches.

“It’s horrendous.”

Lead has also been found in Ms Harries’s water tank and her blood tests showed elevated levels of selenium.

She is still waiting for more results from additional tests.

“Currently I’m OK, I feel OK,” Ms Harries said.

“Yes, I’ve got some lead and some selenium, but I feel that I’m not at risk at this point of time.”

Community-led rainwater testing near Orange finds one in three tanks have unsafe lead levels

NSW Health is retesting water after residents raised concerns about elevated traces of heavy metals, which they worry is linked to Cadia goldmine

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/mar/13/community-led-rainwater-testing-near-orange-finds-one-in-three-tanks-have-unsafe-lead-levels

More than a third of the water samples taken from rainwater tanks near Orange as part of a citizen survey and tested by an independent laboratory showed lead results above the safe levels in the Australian drinking water guidelines.

Those results are now being re-tested by New South Wales Health in an effort to determine if there is a broader public health risk. NSW Health has not provided any updates about those test results or said whether they confirm the results of the initial testing.

Seventy-one samples from regional properties in central western NSW were analysed in a Sydney laboratory over summer after a number of residents raised concerns about the safety of their household water supplies. Twenty-seven indicated lead levels above the national guidelines.

The concerns were first flagged in response to dust clouds at the Newcrest Cadia goldmine. All samples are from properties located within 15km of the mine which do not have access to town water.

The sampling program was coordinated by the Cadia Community Sustainability Network (CCSN) with the support of Dr Ian Wright, a University of Western Sydney researcher, as part of a community science study into the impacts of the mine on water quality.

In a statement to Guardian Australia, a spokesperson for CCSN said they received results in February that “showed some rainwater tanks seemed to have accumulated heavy metal in the bottom of the tank”.

They then sent the initial samples plus a few more to a different laboratory to be tested again.

“This scoping exercise confirmed the preliminary results,” the statement said. “In total we have now tested 40 residents in the district.

“We have provided the information to the Environmental Protection Agency and NSW Health. NSW Health is planning to retest the pilot study to determine next steps.”

Wright told Guardian Australia the source of the contamination had not been confirmed, but that the lead levels were such that he recommended they seek further testing.

“The results are just gobsmacking,” he said. “There are children drinking this stuff.”

One sample showed lead levels that were 84 times the safe level of 0.01mg/L in the Australian drinking water guidelines.

Two of the samples contained traces of arsenic. A number also contained high levels of copper and zinc, but not above the drinking water guidelines.

Wright said the source of the contamination was a secondary concern.

“The primary question is a human health question,” he said. “Should there be a public health warning issued? Should people be drinking this water?”

Some of the initial 71 samples were of water collected from farm shed roofs, Wright said. Cross-contamination from farming chemicals and machinery had not been ruled out.

NSW Health last week confirmed it had been contacted by residents who were concerned about their water supply and environmental health officers had begun collecting samples of rainwater that serves as private household water supplies, which will be tested at government-approved laboratories.

But it stressed it does not have a role in investigating where the contaminants may have come from, and that management of private water supplies – which includes household rainwater tanks – was the responsibility of the property holder.

Because the results concern private water sources, they will not be released unless a broad public health risk is identified.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also confirmed it had received a complaint but said it did not comment on ongoing investigations.

Newcrest is also conducting sampling and sending water to be tested at ALS Laboratories, which are providing results directly back to both residents and the mining company.

“Some residents have started receiving their test results directly from the independent experts undertaking the testing,” a spokesperson said. “Tests show drinking water is safe for those who have received their results so far. We are still waiting for the remaining results and analysis of the large scale testing program to come through over the next couple of weeks.”

Earlier, Newcrest said allegations of dust contamination from the mine did not match its own monitoring and stressed that the cause was “currently unknown”.

CCSN said it was hoping to undertake isotope testing of the heavy metals found in the samples, which may help narrow down its origin.

“The CCSN isn’t attributing blame for this contamination until it can be clearly identified where the source has come from,” the spokesperson said. “We hope that NSW Health and the EPA will quickly determine some clear next steps for the community.”

Wright said it was possible that old water pipes and tanks could be the source of some of the metals seen in the samples, particularly copper and zinc. Lead has not been used in water pipes in Australian homes since the 1930s and the use of a lead-based solder on drinking water pipes has been banned since 1989.

NSW Health to test for heavy metal contamination in private rainwater tanks near regional goldmine

Newcrest Mining says reports of contamination do not match its monitoring data from Cadia goldmine near Orange

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/mar/06/nsw-health-to-test-for-heavy-metal-contamination-in-private-rainwater-tanks-near-regional-goldmine

Health authorities are conducting water testing after residents reported heavy metal contamination in some household rainwater tanks near the Cadia goldmine in western New South Wales.

Representatives from NSW Health attended a community meeting hosted by the Cadia Community Sustainability Network on Sunday, after a number of people who live near the mine had their rainwater tested. Residents suggested that dust from the mine had settled on their roofs and been washed into tanks.

Most properties within a 15km radius of the mine, which is about 22km from Orange, rely on rainwater for their potable water supply.

A spokesperson for Newcrest Mining, which operates the goldmine, said it had been told about some water testing results from some residents but that the contamination did not correlate with the results of their own air quality monitoring programs.

Western NSW Local Health District said it “does not conduct investigations into environmental or ecological factors which may broadly affect the management of water collected privately, including rainwater”, but that it was assisting residents with testing their household tanks.

“Following independent testing not conducted by NSW Health, the community has raised concern with the District’s PHU [public health unit] regarding the safety and quality of privately collected drinking water at a number of private residences south of Orange,” a spokesperson said.

“The District will conduct additional sampling and testing of the drinking water at a number of those residences supplied only by rainwater, to assist residents in identifying any potential contamination which could pose a health risk.

“Should the District’s testing return results outside the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines at any residence, the PHU will provide support and advice to assess and identify immediate sources of contamination and rectify any issues of concern.”

It added that management of private water supplies such as rainwater tanks was ultimately the responsibility of the householder.

Newcrest said the cause of the contamination was “currently unknown”. It has commissioned a third party to test some of the affected tanks.

“We were made aware that some members of the local community recently undertook self-testing on their drinking water tanks that has shown elevated levels of contaminants,” a company spokesperson said.

“We’ve been part of the community for many years and are taking what we have been told seriously, as historical monitoring data shared with the community and regulator does not appear to correlate with what we have been told.”

The company said it wanted to work with the community but stressed that any support it was offering locals who say their water has been affected was in line with support it would ordinarily offer its neighbours.

Guardian Australia understands Cadia offered to arrange a laundry service and to deliver drinking water to one resident, who reported feeling unsafe using their tank water after tests ordered by the resident showed significantly elevated levels of lead and other contaminants.

“Like others, we want to understand what is behind the findings and want to work with the community to do this,” the spokesperson said. “This is our focus and a critical step to ensure the appropriate course of action can be determined, rather than determining actions based on what may or may not be the cause, which is currently unknown.”

The company was fined $15,000 by the EPA last year for failing to maintain appropriate levels of dust mitigation from its tailings storage facilities. At the time, the EPA said it had received “numerous notifications by residents of dust lift events visible from their homes”.

February 19 2023: Winkie (South Australia) – Colour, Taste & Odour

Community calls for irrigation investment to better prevent poor-quality Murray River water

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-02-20/riverland-water-quality-post-flood-raises-questions-about-water/101997534

A Riverland politician and a local irrigation body are calling for investments from the South Australian government to help prevent poor water quality documented throughout the 2022–23 floods.

As the Murray River spread onto flood plains it collected debris and organic matter, impacting the quality for those connected to irrigation water.

Winkie resident Vanessa Weidenhofer has irrigation water at her rental home, which is usually used for drinking, bathing and gardening.

But due to concerns around the water quality, she’s been relying on rainwater for the past two months.

“It’s horrible and we haven’t been able to shower actually. We’ve been going to friends’ houses,” she said.

“It really feels unsafe and unhealthy to be showering in it, and it kind of hurts because it feels like there’s sand or mud in your water.

“We can’t really drink the irrigation water. I wouldn’t.”

Ms Weidenhofer said the discoloured water has impacted her.

She said a bath for a toddler she was babysitting was made a lot more difficult due to the state of the water.

“I went to run the tap in the bath and it started coming out red-brown like clay, it was disgusting,” she said.

“So, I drained the bath and started filling it up with hot pots of rainwater.

“I wouldn’t be bathing or showering children in this kind of water unless people had a permanent filter right next to their house.”

Murky waters

Local member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone said while a decline in water quality could be expected during floods, it was “taking a toll” on irrigators and outlying communities not connected to town water.

He wants a state government investment to improve water quality.

“I think there is a role for the government to play to incentivise people to install rainwater tanks, storage and filtration,” he said.

“That might be some form of a sweetener when going out into the marketplace, so they can be a little bit more self-sufficient in a time when we have either a flood or a high-flow event.”

The Renmark Irrigation Trust (RIT) said at its main pump station, existing filter infrastructure can clog up quickly with organic matter during times of flood.

Currently, 10mm fish exclusion screens are in place which chief executive officer Rosalie Auricht said was dangerous to clean during peak flows.

She said the RIT was interested in modern, 2-3mm self-cleaning fish screens, which would likely cost more than $1 million.

“If we could get it, the environment would benefit because the juvenile fish stay in the river system, and the irrigation community would benefit because there would be less organic matter coming through the pipe system,” she said.

“It would be very expensive for us to do it. However, the government has contributed to these programs in the northern basin … [where] at least $26 million was made available for fish screens.

“I’d love to see something like that made available to people in South Australia.”

SA Water Minister Susan Close has been contacted for comment.

Feb/April 2023: Serpentine Dam (Western Australia). Perth Drinking Water Supply Threatened by Mining

‘Intergenerational risk’: Alcoa’s troubled mining could double Perth water bills

https://www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/intergenerational-risk-alcoa-s-troubled-mining-could-double-perth-water-bills-20230331-p5cx3t.html

April 3 2023: Peter Milne

Water bills in WA could double if the high-risk mining practices of Alcoa near a number of Perth’s dams results in contamination, according to the state’s Water Corporation.

Water Corporation described the US aluminium giant’s mining of bauxite in the Darling Scarp as a “very significant intergenerational risk to water quality and security of supply in drinking water catchments” in an internal briefing note obtained by a freedom-of-information request from the Wilderness Society.

The water supply is at risk from heavy rain carrying soil from areas cleared by Alcoa into the dams muddying the normally clear water, making existing water treatment facilities ineffective.

Contamination from spills of oil and the forever chemical PFAS from firefighting foam were also identified as a concern in the September 2022 document summarising work Water Corporation did “in response to increasing risks stemming from bauxite operations”.

More sophisticated water treatment facilities for dams that could be affected by Alcoa’s current and planned mining of the ore used to make aluminium would cost up to $2.6 billion, translating into a doubling of water rates.

Jess Beckerling, director of conservation group WA Forest Alliance, said any increase in water charges would be a slap in the face for West Australians.

“Who would the ordinary West Australian prefer be prioritised, our water supplier, or the Aluminium Company of America?” she said.

Runoff from forests collected in dams is making a falling contribution to south-west water supply as rainfall reduces due to climate change. However, the dams are as vital as ever to the water supply system as they store water from desalination plants and aquifers in winter to be used in summer when demand is highest.

If a critical dam could no longer be used due to contamination, a replacement could cost billions of dollars, which would be additional to the spending on water treatment facilities.

If water treatment facilities or more storage were required, they would take years to build, and meanwhile, not all people would be equally affected.

About 250,000 Water Corporation customers can only be supplied directly from dams due to the system of pipelines in place.

People served by those 250,000 connections would likely have to boil drinking water if the dams were contaminated with soil or switch to bottled water if excessive amounts of hydrocarbons or PFAS were washed into the dams, according to a water industry expert who did not wish to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The briefing note gives more detail of the threat from Alcoa’s mining to water supply in the south-west of WA, first revealed by this masthead in February.

An Alcoa spokeswoman said the company remained committed to being a sustainable miner and constantly worked to improve its environmental management.

“While potential long-term risks are proposed, it is important to note that Alcoa has been mining in drinking water supply catchment areas for six decades and has never negatively impacted on public drinking water supply,” she said.

Alcoa has its own mining rules

Water Corporation places the blame for the risks it now has to manage on the unique regulatory arrangements Alcoa enjoys.

“Previous mining operations have not been effectively regulated, primarily due to limitations associated with the outdated management framework associated with the relevant State Agreements,” the note said.

Most mining in WA is governed by the independent Environmental Protection Authority and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

However, Alcoa’s mining is governed by a committee of bureaucrats led by the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation and its minister – Deputy Premier Roger Cook – has the final say.

Each year Alcoa submits a rolling five-year mine management plan to the committee – the Mine Management Plan and Liaison Group – and does not have to seek permission to clear native vegetation under the Environmental Protection Act under an exemption granted in 2004.

According to the briefing note, the committee MMPLG has identified increased risks from Alcoa’s mining in recent years that led to “protracted negotiations” before the last two mining plans were approved.

The miner was working closer to dams, in steeper areas more at risk of excessive runoff after a storm, clearing a greater portion of creek valleys feeding the dams, and digging into areas with shallow groundwater.

Plans by Alcoa to go back to areas it previously mined to extract lower grade ore it had left in the past would “create a second wave of disturbance.”

According to the note, Alcoa has cleared more than 220 square kilometres of jarrah forest in the catchment areas of nine Water Corporation dams. More than 50 square kilometres are currently open with no rehabilitation efforts started.

The open area “was a key indicator of risk” for the Water Corporation as this is where water runoff with soil, oil and PFAS is most likely to occur. The area has increased 10-fold in the past 20 years while Alcoa cleared 30 per cent more land than it revegetated.

In the five years to 2022 Alcoa each year on average reported 140 oil spills with a total volume of more than 18,000 litres and 13 spills of PFAS or the less concerning P3 chemical it has used in the past two years.

Failures of drainage works designed to stop water running off the open mine areas were reported an average 42 times a year and “turbidity exceedances” when sediment made water too cloudy were reported an average of 30 times a year.

Since 2020 Alcoa has been restricted to mining areas with less than a nine-degree or (16 per cent) slope no closer than two metres to groundwater, and clear no more than 30 per cent of a creek valley, or sub-catchment, leading to a “reduction in the overall risk profile to the Water Corporation.”

Cook said the Mining Management Plan Liaison Group process allowed relevant experts within the state government to apply the same level of regulatory rigour to Alcoa’s proposed activities that other companies were subject to.

“The state government has made it clear to the company that protecting Perth’s drinking water remains paramount,” he said.

“Alcoa’s current approval to mine is subject to strict criteria that precludes mining in areas of high risk to Perth’s drinking water.”

Cook said a review of the Water Corporation’s monitoring of its dams from mid-2019 to mid-2022 found the water quality was “very good”.

In February, the WA Forest Alliance asked the WA Environmental Protection Authority to review Alcoa’s approved 2022-26 mining plan as well as the 2023-27 plan now under consideration.

The EPA is expected to decide in about a month whether to accept the referral that would subject Alcoa’s mining plans to unprecedented scrutiny and transparency.

In 2020 Alcoa referred a major expansion of its Huntly mine to the EPA and expected to issue an Environmental Review Document for public comment by June 2023.

Alcoa plans riskier mining near Serpentine Dam and massive new exploration

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/alcoa-plans-riskier-mining-near-serpentine-dam-and-massive-new-exploration-20230217-p5clgi.html

March 7 2023: Peter Milne

Alcoa’s future mining near Serpentine Dam is a greater threat to Perth’s biggest drinking water dam than its present work which is already worrying the West Australian government.

The US firm – that contests its plans pose a greater risk – is also asking for approval to explore more than 60,000 hectares of jarrah forest in a mine plan currently with the state government for review.

Government fears that heavy rain could cause so much sediment run-off from areas already cleared by Alcoa that water from Serpentine Dam would not be drinkable for months or even years were revealed by this masthead in February.

Alcoa’s future mining poses a significant increase in risk to the dam that supplied 18 per cent of Perth’s water in 2020, according to recent internal state government documentation obtained by this masthead.

The proposed clearing and earthworks – detailed in a five-year plan submitted to the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation and a longer-term expansion proposal lodged with the Environmental Protection Authority in 2020 – includes more mining on steep hillsides near the dam where uncontrolled runoff is more likely.

Alcoa intends to clear more than 60 per cent of the forest in some creek valleys, or subcatchments. Its 2023 to 2027 mine plan includes more than 1500 hectares near the dam, more than 70 per cent of which is in “constrained areas” of greatest risk, according to the government documentation.

Contrary to the state government assessment, Alcoa’s interim vice president of Australian operations, Rob Bear, said the company was not proposing to mine in more difficult areas around Serpentine Dam.

“We have extensive experience operating in areas with similar attributes to those being proposed, including proximity to the dam and the nature of the terrain,” he said.

Bear said Alcoa was working with regulators to improve its already stringent practices, including installing hundreds of additional water monitoring bores, and in 2022 reduced the number of drainage failures by 80 per cent.

“We are aligned with government on the need to maintain responsible and safe operations to protect drinking water,” he said.

In its 2023 to 2027 mining and management program, Alcoa also wants access to more than 60,000 hectares of jarrah forest for exploration, according to a person familiar with the plans who is not authorised to talk to the media. Not all of the area explored would be found suitable for mining.

In 2022, Alcoa extracted 31.4 million tonnes of bauxite from the jarrah forest, 75 per cent of the Pittsburgh-based aluminium giant’s global production.

The ore comes from two mining areas: Huntly, which encroaches on Serpentine Dam and supplied alumina refineries in Kwinana and Pinjarra, and Willowdale, which supports the Wagerup refinery. The alumina is shipped to smelters to make aluminium.

Due to delayed mining plan approvals in WA, Alcoa is now mining lower-grade bauxite which has increased production costs, according to Alcoa’s 2022 annual report.

Alcoa’s 2022 to 2026 plan was only approved by State Development Minister Roger Cook in September 2022 and the 2023 to 2027 plan remains under review, a JTSI spokeswoman said.

She said under the approved plan the miner could not work in higher-risk areas without submitting a method to manage those risks that is accepted by the Mining and Management Program Liaison Group, a committee of bureaucrats that approves Alcoa’s mining.

Higher-risk areas include anywhere with a slope greater than 16 degrees and subcatchments where Alcoa plans to clear more than 30 per cent of the vegetation.

Most mining in WA is assessed by the independent Environmental Protection Authority and regulated by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

However, under a 62-year-old legislated agreement with the state, Alcoa’s mining is governed by the liaison group that is led by JTSI – the department tasked with promoting industry, not protecting the environment – and its plans are regarded by the government as commercial in confidence.

In late 2022, Cook gave Alcoa 12 expectations it had to meet to get future mine plans approved.

According to recent internal state government documentation obtained by this masthead, Alcoa then submitted a plan that inadequately addressed these expectations.

WA Forest Alliance convener Jess Beckerling said the level of risk and secrecy surrounding Alcoa’s mining has reached a tipping point and a full and transparent assessment was required.

Last week the alliance referred the 2022-2026 and 2023-2027 plans to the WA EPA, which has 28 days to decide whether it will investigate.

Alcoa’s operations in WA are 40 per cent owned by ASX-listed Melbourne company Alumina Limited.

Alcoa was warned for years about Perth water threats, so why is our biggest dam at risk?

https://www.theage.com.au/environment/sustainability/alcoa-was-warned-for-years-about-perth-water-threats-so-why-is-our-biggest-dam-at-risk-20230208-p5civr.html

Feb 9 2023: Hamish Hastie & Peter Milne Reporters

(Serpentine Dam surrounded by bauxite mining)

The West Australian government continued to approve Alcoa’s bauxite mining practices, which threaten Perth’s drinking water supply, despite its own departments raising grave concerns about the issue for at least two years.

This masthead can also reveal that the US aluminium giant’s latest mining plans have not met strict expectations set by State Development Minister Roger Cook.

Internal government advice obtained by this masthead exposed serious fears that Alcoa’s mining practices near the Serpentine Dam left the water vulnerable to flows of pollutants and disease-causing pathogens from mining sediment in the event of heavy rainfall.

Alcoa experienced 227 drainage failures and spilled more than 100,000 litres of diesel and hydraulic oil over the past five years including in water catchment zones throughout the Darling Scarp.

A large sediment flow into the Serpentine Dam, which provided 18 per cent of Perth’s drinking water last year, could potentially shut it down for years and result in billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money spent to fix the problem.

The advice shows the Water Corporation, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI) had frequently raised these concerns with Alcoa over the past two years, but the company’s latest mining plans did not adequately address them.

The fears revolved around the company’s continued push to a non-peer reviewed, self-regulatory pit-level approach to mining in high-slope water catchment areas.

The advisers lamented their concerns had been ignored by Alcoa in its latest mining management program proposal – a rolling five-year plan approved annually by a panel of bureaucrats including JTSI, DWER and Water Corporation, which is signed off by Cook.

The freshest concerns were raised in government feedback to the 2023-27 plan, which advisers said had insufficient information to assess the risks to public drinking water catchments and dams, and was not backed by peer-reviewed science.

The list of expectations

The advisers raised further concerns about Alcoa’s responses to a list of 12 expectations placed on the company’s future mining operations by Cook in his September 2022 approval of last year’s plan.

These expectations included an obligation on Alcoa to submit a 10-year mine plan for assessment by the government panel and that future approvals must have concurrence from Cook, Environment Minister Reece Whitby, and Water Minister Simone McGurk.

Cook also wanted to re-establish a hydrology committee, shut down in 2015, that provided advice to the minister on bauxite mining’s impact on the movement of water in the Perth Hills.

This point was echoed by a spokeswoman from the Water Corporation, who said there was capacity for it to be reconvened.

Despite Cook’s stern expectations, the government’s advice trashed Alcoa’s response, claiming its latest plan was limited, incomplete and not subject to peer review.

Upper house Greens MP Brad Pettit questioned whether political pressure had a part to play in Alcoa’s mining plans being approved at the same time as bureaucrats warned of a major threat to Perth’s drinking water.

Cook, Whitby and McGurk met with Alcoa on December 15 last year, which followed a meeting between Premier Mark McGowan and Alcoa’s global chief executive Roy Harvey in November.

A state government spokesman said McGowan and the senior ministers made it clear in their meetings that risks to Perth’s water sources needed to be appropriately managed.

In addition to Cook’s 12 expectations, the spokesman said Alcoa’s 2022-26 mining plan was approved subject to conditions it did not mine higher-risk areas without submitting a revised risk management plan addressing the government’s concerns.

“To date, Alcoa has not satisfied those concerns and is not currently mining in these areas,” he said.

A JTSI spokesman said the government panel – known as the Mining and Management Program Liaison Group – would not recommend approval of mining in these higher-risk areas until it was satisfied the concerns were addressed.

An Alcoa spokeswoman said the company operated according to its mining and management programs, took its responsibilities seriously and its mining operations had never impacted drinking water supply.

“We continue to work cooperatively with relevant government bodies to address evolving expectations for environmental management,” she said.

Water Corporation tests of Perth dam water quality from 2019 to 2022 found no issues.

How does Alcoa get its approvals?

Alcoa’s approval to mine the Darling Scarp on a lease that spans from Collie to Gidgegannup stems from a State Agreement first inked by the Charles Court’s government in 1961.

It is this legislation and subsequent amendment acts that include the requirement to submit mining management plans annually, their assessment by the government panel, and approval requirements by the state development minister.

This panel is chaired by JTSI and comprised of public servants from Water Corporation; DWER; the departments of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety; Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions; and Planning, Lands and Heritage.

The panel oversees all of Alcoa’s bauxite mining operations including vegetation clearing permits and mine design, but its decisions are not made public and there is no opportunity for public comment.

Pettitt called for an overhaul of the approvals processes for Alcoa’s bauxite mining.

Experts break down health risk of Alcoa mining threat

https://www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/experts-break-down-health-risk-of-alcoa-mining-threat-20230207-p5ciq1.html

Feb 8 2023: Jesinta Burton Reporter

Water quality experts have shed light on the health risks posed by drinking water contaminants amid revelations the government is worried that Alcoa’s bauxite mining practices could shut down Perth’s biggest dam.

On Wednesday, this masthead revealed internal state government documents indicated Alcoa’s operation in the jarrah forest was presenting an increasing threat to the nearby Serpentine Dam, a key part of the city’s drinking water supply network.

Authorities believe the threat has been amplified by a shift in the miner’s practices which has increased the risk of sediment washing into the dam and dragging with it chemical pollutants and disease-causing pathogens.

The government, which has raised concerns with Alcoa, was told by the Water Corporation a spill could necessitate a $2.6 billion spend to clean up the water and force a shutdown of the 78 billion-litre dam which comprises almost one-fifth of Perth’s total water supply.

The dam stores surface runoff, groundwater and desalinated water to meet base load and peak demand in the network, which services more than two million people throughout Perth, the South West, the Goldfields and the agricultural regions.

Though monitoring by the Water Corporation shows water quality to have been “very good”, the state-owned authority said the introduction of pathogens would present a significant risk to public health.

There are strict rules over which human activities can take place in the reservoir protection zone to prevent pathogens entering the water system.

But while disease-causing organisms, viruses and bacteria contaminating a water source are a concern, University of NSW water quality expert Professor Stuart Khan said the threat posed by sediment in the water was two-fold.

Speaking generally, Khan told this masthead sediment runoff had the potential to drag pathogens into the water and impact water treatment processes, making them less effective at removing pathogens and other harmful contaminants.

In the case of bauxite mining, he said that could include everything from dissolved chemicals like aluminium oxide and iron oxide, to heavy metals like cadmium and mercury from crushed rocks.

“A disruption to the treatability of the water can carry very serious public health risks if you don’t have the proper conditions to achieve effective disinfection,” he said.

“The other issue is pH change. If you start to get a highly alkaline or an acidic runoff into that water, or high concentrations of metals like manganese and aluminum, then that makes the water more difficult to treat.”

Unless a water treatment plant was specifically designed to address that problem, Khan said it would not be a quick fix and could take water quality issues directly to the taps of consumers.

The risks of an ever-changing landscape

Alcoa has been clearing to mine bauxite in the jarrah forest for six decades under long-standing state agreements, with its lease spanning a 12,600-square-kilometre area between Perth and Collie.

But the government believes the threat posed by the operation has rapidly increased in recent years, with deeper mine pits, more unrehabilitated areas, and increased removal of the loose rock that sits on top of bedrock across the catchment making it more prone to erosion.

The company has also been moving closer to the water supply, with parts of the operation now within 300 metres of the dam edge.

The likelihood of sediment and dissolved substances travelling into waterways drastically increases during heavy rainfall and extreme weather events in areas susceptible to erosion.

And that is especially problematic in drinking water catchments.

It’s something NSW authorities found out firsthand when a fire swept through a drinking water catchment in western Sydney in 2020, destroying the forest, destabilising the land and sending sediment, ash and debris into Warragamba Dam. This made the water difficult to treat.

The southern half of WA is no stranger to the effects of climate change, which have already resulted in a 20 per cent decline in rainfall and forced the network to rely on other water sources.

University of Western Sydney water quality expert, Professor Ian Wright, said threats to the stability of the landscape were only growing with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.

“Really, there’s nothing better than forests [for a water catchment]. When you clear the topsoil to get to that bauxite, you increase the risk of erosion and disrupting the salinity,” he said.

“What’s clear is that we’re getting more extreme weather, both drought and heavy rain.

“For a destabilised landscape like a water catchment affected by clearing and mining, this extreme rain, even with rehabilitation techniques that do their best, can make it really hard to hold together the landscape.”

Edith Cowan University researcher Pierre Horwitz echoed those sentiments, and said mining in a water catchment had the potential to change the hydrology and contaminate the water, issues which would persist for many, many years.

A WA government spokesperson said the state had made clear to Alcoa that the drinking water risks needed to be appropriately managed.

An Alcoa spokesperson said the company was improving its water management and monitoring, voluntarily agreeing to stringent reporting of water management-related events.

The company also said it was committed to being a sustainable miner and monitoring its operations, having rehabilitated 6370 of the 7700 hectares it had cleared in WA over the past decade.

Alcoa mining threatens Perth’s drinking water

Feb 8 2023: https://www.watoday.com.au/environment/sustainability/alcoa-mining-threatens-perth-s-drinking-water-20230207-p5cijm.html

Feb 8 2023: Peter Milne Reporter

Drinking water from Perth’s biggest dam could be rendered undrinkable for years thanks to alarming mining practices by Alcoa, potentially causing restrictions and costing the state up to $2.6 billion to clean it up.

The US aluminium giant mines bauxite within 300 metres of the Serpentine Dam, and the risk of sediment flowing into the waterway increased when it changed its methods about five years ago.

Government advisers fear heavy rain could wash so much sediment containing chemical pollutants and disease-causing pathogens into the dam that the water would not be drinkable for months or even years.

Alcoa’s changed mining practices and the risk to Perth’s water supply are detailed in recent internal state government documentation obtained by this masthead.

Serpentine Dam currently holds 78 billion litres of water, enough to supply Perth’s two million people for two months of peak summer consumption. The dam stores surface runoff from the surrounding forest, as well as water from underground aquifers and desalination plants.

The state government’s assessment is that the threat from Alcoa’s mining, just 55 kilometres from the centre of the city, has increased rapidly in recent years.

The company that has mined the northern jarrah forest for 60 years is now working in hillier areas, digging larger pits, and leaving more land unrehabilitated, all of which make sediment runoff more likely, according to the documentation.

The $13 billion company recorded 227 drainage failures across its WA mines in the past five years, and sediment flowed into the dam 46 times in 2021.

In the same period more than 100,000 litres of diesel and hydraulic oil spilled from its truck and earthmoving equipment fleet. In 2022, there were 137 spills with an average volume of 125 litres.

Three state government ministers met with Alcoa in December over concerns about its mining close to the dam.

An Alcoa spokeswoman said it was improving its water management and monitoring and had cut reportable drainage failures to 19 in 2022, only one of which affected a dam. She said all spill areas were cleaned, and it had detected no hydrocarbons downstream from its mining.

“If Alcoa is doing this in one of the most sensitive and public areas, what are they doing further from public view?”

WA Forest Alliance director Jess Beckerling

“Alcoa voluntarily has agreed to stringent reporting of water management-related events that occur in our mining areas,” she said.

“We remain committed to being a sustainable miner and using leading management and monitoring practices in our operations.”

WA Forest Alliance director Jess Beckerling said the risk to Perth’s water supply was unacceptable and immediate action was required.

“If Alcoa is doing this in one of the most sensitive and public areas what are they doing further from public view?” she said.

How Alcoa shapes the land it mines determines whether sediment-laden water reaches the dam or not.

An agreement between Alcoa and Water Corporation requires water from a one in 20-year downpour be retained in sumps for at least five minutes and then drain into bushland, not into streams that feed the dam.

A spokeswoman for Water Minister Simone McGurk said the government had told Alcoa it must appropriately manage risks to dam water quality from its activities.

A review of water monitoring of Perth’s dams for the three years to June 2022 showed all dams, including Serpentine, were very good, the spokeswoman said.

The Alcoa spokeswoman said the company had cleared 7700 hectares in WA in the past decade and rehabilitated 6370 hectares.

The Pittsburgh-based company mines bauxite from a vast 12,600-square-kilometre lease that covers much of the northern jarrah forest from inland of Perth to Collie, 165 kilometres to the south.

In 2022 the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded with high confidence the biodiverse region was at risk of ecological collapse due to hotter, drier conditions and more fires.

In January, Alcoa chief executive Roy Harvey told Wall Street analysts WA, where the company employs about 4000 people, was critical.

It has three refineries in the state to process the bauxite into aluminium oxide that is shipped to aluminium smelters around the world.

The WA operation is operated by Alcoa and owned by a joint venture, 60 per cent owned by Alcoa and 40 per cent by ASX-listed Alumina Limited, that also has a stake in Victoria’s Portland aluminium smelter as well as overseas operations.

The state-owned Water Corporation estimates facilities to make contaminated water drinkable could take five years to build at a cost up to $2.6 billion for all dams affected by mining.

January 2023: Coutts Crossing (NSW) – Boil Water Alert

January 2023: Boil Water Alert Clarence River/Coutts Crossing (NSW)

Due to a prolonged dirty water event in the Nymboida River, immediate Level 4 (Severe) Water Restrictions have been introduced in order to avoid the need to call a Boil Water Alert for the whole Clarence Valley water supply system.

The Boil Water Alert for Coutts Crossing issued on 30 January remains in place.

Level 4 restrictions ban all outside watering (except use of grey water).

See the tables attached for the current restrictions in place for specific water uses under Level 4 restrictions.

For more information on permitted uses please refer to the Water Restrictions Policy on Clarence Valley Council’s website.

Restrictions will be reviewed when the water quality in the Nymboida River improves. Council appreciates cooperation and understanding of residents in this matter.

Jan 28 2023: Mathoura (NSW) – Dirty Water

Murray River to flush out ‘muddy’ water

Jan 28 2023: https://www.sheppnews.com.au/news/murray-river-to-flush-out-muddy-water/

A raw and filtered water main flushing program will begin in Moama and Mathoura next week.

The flushing process is designed to wash out any accumulated dissolved mineral sediments that may be sitting in the water mains.

Partly resulting from the floods, it is intended to help eliminate the muddy taste and odour being reported by some Murray River households due to ongoing impacts from the flood event.

While flushing is being undertaken, customers may notice discoloured water and reduced water pressure in their homes, businesses and gardens.

Murray River Council says “this is normal”.

“The discolouration will clear up and the pressure will come back as we move into different areas,” council said.

“The discoloured water does not pose a health risk.

“Our teams are encouraging water customers to check for discolouration, particularly prior to using washing machines.

“If you do experience discoloured water, please run the cold water tap for 5 to 10 minutes until it clears.

“If the discolouration continues past this timeframe, contact council on 1300 087 004 and lodge a service request.”

Daily updates will be provided on council’s Facebook page advising the areas where flushing will occur the following day.

Signs will also be displayed at the entrance to each area while flushing is occurring.

It is expected that the program will be completed by the end of February 2023.

Council assured the community that the drinking water is tested daily and is within the requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

“Should further action be required to improve water quality (following the flushing program), council will advise residents prior to undertaking these works,” council said.

“We ask residents who are experiencing issues to firstly run their tap for a minimum of five mins in an attempt to resolve the issue.

“Should the issue persist, please contact council and provide your location and contact details.”

Jan 19 2023: Flinders University study finds key connection in fighting Legionnaires

Flinders University study finds key connection in fighting Legionnaires’

Jan 19 2023: https://indiaeducationdiary.in/flinders-university-study-finds-key-connection-in-fighting-legionnaires/

A new study of domestic and hospital drinking water systems found Legionella in 41% of samples – with Flinders University researchers making a key connection between the pathogen’s co-existence with a ‘host’ microorganism in all samples tested.

The Flinders University study found Legionella bacteria “infect the amoeba host and then once inside these hosts are protected from disinfection strategies,” says Associate Professor of Environmental Health Harriet Whiley, a co-author of the new journal article in Water Research.

Researchers tested for Legionella and its likely amoebae hosts in 140 samples of water or biofilm (the slime found on showerheads and end of faucets) to understand how the potentially dangerous bacterium colonises and proliferates in both domestic and hospital plumbing and poses a threat to human health.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe pneumonia-like infection that can be fatal. Globally the number of Legionnaires’ disease cases is increasing, with elderly and immunocompromised people at the highest risk.

“It is vital that we strive to improve the management of our water distribution systems, particularly in high risk setting such as hospitals, to protect vulnerable populations,” says Associate Professor Whiley, from the Flinders College of Science and Engineering.

“Having a better understanding of the relationships between these amoebae and Legionella is an important step in improving future water treatment processes aimed at controlling Legionella and preventing Legionnaires disease.”

L. pneumophilia is the main cause of Legionnaires’ disease and is not transmitted from person to person but caused by inhalation or aspiration of contaminated water.

Light microscopic images of trophozoites (active form; image A, B and D) and cysts (dormant form; image: C and D circular in shape) of Acanthamoeba (image A, B and C) and Vermamoeba vermiformis (image D) shown at 100 times magnification.
Maintenance and monitoring of water systems is a common preventive step to reduce public risk.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time the amoebae Allovahlkampfia and Stenamoeba have been demonstrated as hosts of L. pneumophila in Australian drinking water,” says Flinders University PhD candidate Muhammad Atif Nisar, who conducted the study.

The findings support the need further research to investigate the prevalence of Legionella as well as free-living amoebae in domestic and commercial water systems and to improve guidelines to better control water systems and safeguard the public health.

Associate Professor Harriet Whiley and Dr Muhammad Atif Nisar in the Environmental Health Laboratory.
“Free-living amoebae are ubiquitous in the environment and cause both opportunistic and non-opportunistic infections in humans. Some amoebae are the natural reservoirs of opportunistic plumbing pathogens, such as Legionella pneumophila,” says Mr Atif Nisar.

“There is a need for future research to improve disinfection strategies against amoeba to reduce their colonisation within building drinking water systems.”

Up to 75% of the drinking water or biofilm samples tested positive for free-living amoebae. This included V. vermiformis which was present in 55% of samples and Acanthamoeba was present in 11%.

As well as being hosts for Legionella, Acanthamoeba and V. vermiformis are pathogens that can cause severe eye infections, with contact lens users and immunocompromised individuals at greatest risk.

The water samples were collected from showers and hand basins located in domestic houses and hospitals across New South Wales and South Australia.

These results demonstrate the importance of amoebae in engineered water systems, both as a pathogen and as a reservoir of Legionella.

“Future water management protocols should incorporate improved treatment strategies to control amoebae to reduce the risk to end-users,” adds Mr Atif Nisar.

Jan 12 2023: Deniliquin (NSW) Taste and Odour

Water safe to drink, says council

Jan 12 2023 (Shepparton News)

Residents of Deniliquin may currently be noticing some discolouration and an unpleasant taste and odour of their water supply.

Edward River Council acting director infrastructure Katrina Bennett said while it may not “look, taste or smell the best, the water is safe to drink.”

Council provides water in accordance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Whilst aesthetically unappealing, the water is not harmful.

“We acknowledge that the colour, taste and odour of the water is not optimum, however can confidently reassure the community that the water quality remains within requirements and there is no need for residents to boil their drinking water,” Ms Bennett said.

All NSW Water Utility supply systems are heavily regulated by NSW Health to ensure that the water is safe and fit for drinking.

“Council undertakes strict and regular monitoring and testing of our water quality with the water sampled and analysed through all stages of collection, treatment, storage, and distribution.

“Our teams are currently flushing the water mains in areas of concern to help alleviate the problem as quickly as possible.

“Unfortunately, the current discoloured water issue affecting some residents is due to high levels of manganese in the river water due to the floods.

“This can be difficult to treat as it stays soluble in the water until it oxidises once it’s treated with chlorine and pH correction; both of which are vital to ensure the water is safe to drink.

“We will continue to monitor our water quality vigilantly.”

2022/23: Waikerie (South Australia) – Total Haloacetic Acid, Bromodichloromethane

Waikerie (South Australia) – Total Haloacetic Acid

9/3/22: Waikerie (South Australia) Total Haloacetic Acid (HAA 9) 101ug/L (max) 86.5ug/L (av. 2021/22)

Australian Guidelines Trichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L, Dichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L

“Chloroacetic acids are produced in drinking water as by-products of the reaction between chlorine and naturally occurring humic and fulvic acids. Concentrations reported overseas range up to 0.16mg/L and are typically about half the chloroform concentration. The chloroacetic acids are used commercially as reagents or intermediates in the preparation of a wide variety of chemicals. Monochloroacetic acid can be used as a pre-emergent herbicide, dichloroacetic acid as an ingredient in some pharmaceutical products, and trichloroacetic acid as a herbicide, soil sterilant and antiseptic.” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines – National Health and Medical Research Council…

Waikerie (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2022/23: Waikerie (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 65ug/L (max), 44.37ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

 

2/3/22: Seaford (South Australia) – Total Haloacetic Acid

Seaford (South Australia) – Total Haloacetic Acid

2/3/22: Seaford (South Australia) Total Haloacetic Acid (HAA 9) 99ug/L (max)

Australian Guidelines Trichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L, Dichloroacetic Acid 0.100mg/L

“Chloroacetic acids are produced in drinking water as by-products of the reaction between chlorine and naturally occurring humic and fulvic acids. Concentrations reported overseas range up to 0.16mg/L and are typically about half the chloroform concentration. The chloroacetic acids are used commercially as reagents or intermediates in the preparation of a wide variety of chemicals. Monochloroacetic acid can be used as a pre-emergent herbicide, dichloroacetic acid as an ingredient in some pharmaceutical products, and trichloroacetic acid as a herbicide, soil sterilant and antiseptic.” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines – National Health and Medical Research Council…

7/3/22: Woodfield South (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Woodfield South  (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

7/3/22: Woodfield South (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 64ug/L (max), 48.17ug/L (av. 2021/22)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2021/23: Wingfield (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Wingfield (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2021/2022: Wingfield (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 60ug/L (max), 47ug/L (av.)

2022/2023: Wingfield (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 90ug/L (max), 63.33ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Gepps Cross (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

Gepps Cross (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

21/4/22: Gepps Cross (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 63ug/L (max), 41.5ug/L (av. 2021/22)

2022/23: Gepps Cross (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 82ug/L (max), 60.92ug/L (av.

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Teringie (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

Teringie (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

27/1/22: Teringie (South Australia)  Bromodichloromethane 65ug/L (max), 49.33ug/L (av. 2021/22)

2022/23: Teringie (South Australia)  Bromodichloromethane 82ug/L (max), 63.5ug/L (av. 2022/23)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: St Morris (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

St Morris (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

17/3/22: St Morris (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 61ug/L (max), 46.25ug/L (av. 2021/22)

2022/23: St Morris (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 84ug/L (max), 64.92ug/L (av. 2022/23)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Rostrevor (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane

Rostrevor (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

10/2/22: Rostrevor (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 61ug/L (max), 47.33ug/L (av. 2021/22)

2022/23: Rostrevor (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 95ug/L (max), 64.08ug/L (av. 2022/23)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Norwood (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane, Iron

Norwood (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

10/2/22: Norwood (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 61ug/L (max), 49.42ug/L (av. 2021/22)

2022/23: Norwood (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 92ug/L (max), 69.58ug/L (av. 2022/23)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

Norwood (South Australia) – Iron

2022/23:  Norwood (South Australia) – Iron 1.106mg/L (max), 0.593mg/L (av. 2022/23)

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste),
the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

2021/23: Huntfield Heights (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

Huntfield Heights (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

2021/22: Huntfield Heights (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 60ug/L (max), 47.9ug/L (av.)

2022/23:  Huntfield Heights (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 82ug/L (max), 64.58ug/L (av.)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

2022/23: Inkerman (South Australia). Bromodichloromethane, Iron

Inkerman (South Australia) – Bromodichloromethane

9/3/22: Inkerman (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 61ug/L (max), 48.8ug/L (av. 2021/22)

2022/23: Inkerman (South Australia) Bromodichloromethane 61ug/L (max), 32.4ug/L (av. 2022/23)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

Inkerman (South Australia) – Iron

2022/23:  Inkerman (South Australia) – Iron 7.283mg/L (max), 1.874mg/L (av. 2022/23)

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste),
the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

15/12/22: Boil Water Alert lifted for Crystal Creek (NSW)

15 Dec 2022 Crystal Creek (NSW)

https://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/council/news-updates/latest-news/media-releases/1378966-boil-water-alert-lifted-for-bray-park-affected-parts-of-murwillumbah-and-out-to-crystal-creek

Boil Water Alert Lifted for Bray Park, affected parts of Murwillumbah and out to Crystal Creek

After consulting NSW Health, Tweed Shire Council advises all residents in Bray Park, Murwillumbah and out to Crystal Creek that tap water is now safe to drink.

This applies immediately.

Testing confirms the water supply system has been filled with freshly treated water that is safe.

There is no longer a public health concern over the quality of drinking water, and it is now considered safe for all typical uses including drinking, preparing food and beverages, personal washing, dishwashing, laundry purposes and flushing toilets.

Council has worked closely with NSW Health in the past 48 hours to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

To protect the health of the community, our crews have emptied the Glencoe Reservoir at North Arm, treated the reservoir with chlorine and refilled the tank. They have also flushed the watermains in the area to reintroduce safe, clean water to the local water supply system.

Scientists from the NATA-accredited Tweed Laboratory Centre have tested the tap water at 6 sites and have confirmed it meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and is safe to drink.

Before drinking water, residents should flush out affected water from their pipes with running water for 2 to 3 minutes, including the tap most distant from their water meter, which is usually in backyards.

15/12/22: Bray Park – Boil Water Alert Lifted

15 Dec 2022 Bray Park

https://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/council/news-updates/latest-news/media-releases/1378966-boil-water-alert-lifted-for-bray-park-affected-parts-of-murwillumbah-and-out-to-crystal-creek

Boil Water Alert Lifted for Bray Park, affected parts of Murwillumbah and out to Crystal Creek

After consulting NSW Health, Tweed Shire Council advises all residents in Bray Park, Murwillumbah and out to Crystal Creek that tap water is now safe to drink.

This applies immediately.

Testing confirms the water supply system has been filled with freshly treated water that is safe.

There is no longer a public health concern over the quality of drinking water, and it is now considered safe for all typical uses including drinking, preparing food and beverages, personal washing, dishwashing, laundry purposes and flushing toilets.

Council has worked closely with NSW Health in the past 48 hours to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

To protect the health of the community, our crews have emptied the Glencoe Reservoir at North Arm, treated the reservoir with chlorine and refilled the tank. They have also flushed the watermains in the area to reintroduce safe, clean water to the local water supply system.

Scientists from the NATA-accredited Tweed Laboratory Centre have tested the tap water at 6 sites and have confirmed it meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and is safe to drink.

Before drinking water, residents should flush out affected water from their pipes with running water for 2 to 3 minutes, including the tap most distant from their water meter, which is usually in backyards.

2022: Eugowra (NSW) – Boil Water Alert

Drinking water turns ‘evil’ in string of Aussie town

·Environment Editor
https://au.news.yahoo.com/drinking-water-turns-evil-several-aussie-towns-015449023.html

Drinking water straight from the tap is no longer possible in several NSW regions after flooding contaminated supplies.

To prevent illness, boil water notices were issued this year for several towns including Nimbin, Eugowra and Narrandera. Images shared to social media show discoloured brown water which a Moama resident said came from her kitchen tap.

Western Sydney University water scientist Dr Ian Wright told Yahoo News Australia he’s never seen so many boil water alerts in NSW.

He notes extreme weather like flood, fire and dust storms put “huge pressure” on water systems. “Floods are really just a great way of mobilising every known pollutant in a landscape and sending it down the river,” he said.

The health risks of contaminated water

Dr Wright warns it is not just drinking unboiled water that can prove harmful. Even contact with skin can have devastating results. “Health authorities always warn us to limit physical contact with floodwater, particularly if you’re elderly, or have cuts and scratches,” he said.

When analysing water, his team looks for faecal coliform indicators. Their presence indicates there is warm-blooded animal waste in the supply. “I’ve tested a lot of water after floods and it’s just evil. We grab samples and test them in the lab the bacteria results just light up.”

Bacteria, viruses and parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium can enter the water supply after flooding. If people drink affected water without boiling it, Dr Wright warns you’re “spinning the chamber in the revolver”. “It’s absolutely Russian roulette.”

“The advice is boil the water, but you don’t just boil it like you’re making a cup of tea, you boil it and leave it on what they call a rolling boil,” he said. “So you hold the button down… for 30 seconds or so then let it cool down.”

Drinking water straight from the tap is no longer possible in several NSW regions after flooding contaminated supplies.

To prevent illness, boil water notices were issued this year for several towns including Nimbin, Eugowra and Narrandera. Images shared to social media show discoloured brown water which a Moama resident said came from her kitchen tap.

Western Sydney University water scientist Dr Ian Wright told Yahoo News Australia he’s never seen so many boil water alerts in NSW.

He notes extreme weather like flood, fire and dust storms put “huge pressure” on water systems. “Floods are really just a great way of mobilising every known pollutant in a landscape and sending it down the river,” he said.

The health risks of contaminated water

Dr Wright warns it is not just drinking unboiled water that can prove harmful. Even contact with skin can have devastating results. “Health authorities always warn us to limit physical contact with floodwater, particularly if you’re elderly, or have cuts and scratches,” he said.

When analysing water, his team looks for faecal coliform indicators. Their presence indicates there is warm-blooded animal waste in the supply. “I’ve tested a lot of water after floods and it’s just evil. We grab samples and test them in the lab the bacteria results just light up.”

Bacteria, viruses and parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium can enter the water supply after flooding. If people drink affected water without boiling it, Dr Wright warns you’re “spinning the chamber in the revolver”. “It’s absolutely Russian roulette.”

“The advice is boil the water, but you don’t just boil it like you’re making a cup of tea, you boil it and leave it on what they call a rolling boil,” he said. “So you hold the button down… for 30 seconds or so then let it cool down.

In many small towns in Australia, councils are responsible for managing the upkeep of water and sewerage systems and combatting the impact of flooding can sometimes be beyond their ability.

“If you don’t travel much and you’re from a big city in Australia, drinking water straight from a tap is probably something you take for granted,” Dr Wright said. “But as soon as you go into a regional location, overseas, or to a developing country, we suddenly become aware of water problems.”

2022/23: Moama (NSW). Dirty Water

Murray River to flush out ‘muddy’ water

Jan 28 2023: https://www.sheppnews.com.au/news/murray-river-to-flush-out-muddy-water/

A raw and filtered water main flushing program will begin in Moama and Mathoura next week.

The flushing process is designed to wash out any accumulated dissolved mineral sediments that may be sitting in the water mains.

Partly resulting from the floods, it is intended to help eliminate the muddy taste and odour being reported by some Murray River households due to ongoing impacts from the flood event.

While flushing is being undertaken, customers may notice discoloured water and reduced water pressure in their homes, businesses and gardens.

Murray River Council says “this is normal”.

“The discolouration will clear up and the pressure will come back as we move into different areas,” council said.

“The discoloured water does not pose a health risk.

“Our teams are encouraging water customers to check for discolouration, particularly prior to using washing machines.

“If you do experience discoloured water, please run the cold water tap for 5 to 10 minutes until it clears.

“If the discolouration continues past this timeframe, contact council on 1300 087 004 and lodge a service request.”

Daily updates will be provided on council’s Facebook page advising the areas where flushing will occur the following day.

Signs will also be displayed at the entrance to each area while flushing is occurring.

It is expected that the program will be completed by the end of February 2023.

Council assured the community that the drinking water is tested daily and is within the requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

“Should further action be required to improve water quality (following the flushing program), council will advise residents prior to undertaking these works,” council said.

“We ask residents who are experiencing issues to firstly run their tap for a minimum of five mins in an attempt to resolve the issue.

“Should the issue persist, please contact council and provide your location and contact details.”

Moama residents frustrated at dirty water as flooding continues to affect filtered water network

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-12-05/moama-residents-frustrated-at-brown-clothes-dirty-water-as-flood/101732842

Residents in Moama in southern New South Wales are complaining about brown water coming out of their household taps as the local government authority says it’s an issue that is likely to go on for weeks.

Moama resident Beck Angel took to social media to show the discolouration of the water coming out of her taps.

“Here’s our kitchen tap water — bath and shower way worse!” she said.

“We haven’t been drinking it either, but when the water looks like this in the bathroom, [we] don’t really want to wash in it either.”

The Murray River Council said floodwater from the river systems was affecting the council’s filtered water networks and discolouring the usually clear tap water.

“While the filtered water is discoloured, it is not harmful and the filtered water quality is within the requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,” a council spokesperson said.

It said the discolouration may cause toilet U-bends to look a little murky, bath water may look dirty, and that white sheets and clothes may not stay white when washed.

“This is likely to be an ongoing issue for weeks to come,” the spokesperson said.

No boil water alert active for the area

Last month, the Echuca-Moama region was inundated by floodwater, and residents continue the recovery and clean-up process.

The Murray Darling Basin Authority data shows the Murray River at Echuca is at 93.78 metres above sea level after peaking at a height of 94.977m on October 27.

Resident Rupert Aldous posted that his water was fine but that he still wouldn’t drink it.

“I’m in Lawson Drive and if you can’t see it, I just half-filled my bathroom basin with water,” he said.

Resident Belinda Lee also said her tap water was fine.

“Even white washing is fine. l don’t drink it before it’s boiled, but it’s not discoloured,” she posted.

But another resident, Denise Slater, took to social media on Sunday to show her load of white clothes stained brown after they had been through a laundry cycle that morning.

Murray River Council last put out a Boil Water Alert for Moama on October 22 due to flood conditions when drinking water in Moama’s filtered water network became unsafe.

Moama’s filtered water comes from the Murray River, and Moulamein from the Edwards River which is filtered at a water filtration plant.

2003 – 2008: Fitzroy Crossing (Western Australia). E.coli Raw Water

2003 – 2008: Fitzroy Crossing (Western Australia) – E.coli

During the reviewed period of May 2003 to May 2008, positive E. coli counts were
recorded in approximately 14% of samples collected from Fitzroy Crossing borefield.
This groundwater source is under the direct influence of surface water, resulting in
the higher occurrence of E. coli detections than would typically be seen for a
groundwater source.

Less than 2% of positive samples were > 20 most probable number (MPN) per 100
mL. A count less than 20 MPN/100 mL is typically associated with low levels of faecal
contamination of the surface water and is used as a microbiological contamination
benchmark of the raw water (World Health Organisation 2006).

2015: Harding Dam (Western Australia). Potential contamination

Human waste risk to Pilbara drinking water source

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-12/human-waste-risk-to-pilbara-drinking-water-source/6541844

Western Australia’s Water Corporation has warned an increase in illegal camping and fishing around the Pilbara’s Harding Dam is putting the drinking water source at risk of contamination with human waste.

The corporation’s north west regional manager, Rino Trolio, said the illegal activity was on the rise.

“Since early 2013 there has been a significant increase in recreational activities around the Harding Dam catchment such as fishing, camping and swimming,” he told Hilary Smale on ABC North West Local Radio.

“This has caused an increase in the amount of rubbish and human waste within our source protection area, also known as a P1 area.”

The Harding River was dammed in 1983 for a new source of water in the west Pilbara.

“Harding Dam is really a crucial drinking water source for the west Pilbara,” Mr Trolio said.

“It does provide safe drinking water to customers in Karratha, Roebourne, Wickham, Point Sampson and Dampier.”

With a famously hot and arid climate, the Pilbara’s few freshwater bodies are popular drawcards for locals and tourists.

The Water Corporation tried to manage the natural attraction of Harding Dam by creating an area where people could visit without risking the water quality.

“If they do enjoy this purpose built recreation area, they are doing their bit to protect our drinking water source,” Mr Trolio said.

The Water Corporation warned it would increase surveillance at the dam, and people found undertaking prohibited activities would face fines of up to $5,000.

“By going into the two-kilometre reservoir protection zone, you’re putting your drinking water source at risk of microbiological or chemical contamination,” Mr Trolio said.

The regional manager reassured his customers that their tap water was safe.

“Drinking water supplied from Harding Dam undergoes microfiltration, pH correction, chlorination and fluoridation. Water Corporation regularly monitors the quality of all drinking water supplies to ensure we supply water that is safe to drink. We also work closely with the Department of Health, who regularly reviews our drinking water quality data.”

November 5 2022: Forbes (NSW). Water unsafe to drink due to floods

November 5 2022: Forbes (NSW) Floods make water unsafe to drink

Recent flood conditions at Forbes have resulted in river water ingress into the treated water storage, making drinking water in Forbes Township unsafe to consume.

Water used for drinking or food preparation should be brought to a rolling boil to make it safe. Kettles with automatic shut off switches can do this. Water should then be allowed to cool and stored in a clean container with a lid and refrigerated.

Everyone, particularly people caring for young children, should be careful to avoid scalding, when you are heating and then cooling the water.

Bottled water or cool boiled water should be used for drinking, washing uncooked food (e.g. salad vegetables and fruit), making ice, cleaning teeth, gargling and pet’s drinking water.

Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher. Children should take bottled water or cool boiled water to school.

10/27/22: Scotdesco (South Australia). Drinking Water Shortage

Federal budget promises to address drinking water shortage in remote SA town

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-27/federal-budget-promises-to-address-water-shortage-in-remote-town/101584438

The federal government will allocate $500,000 towards a study into water security in a remote town on South Australia’s west coast.

This week’s budget announced the money would be provided over the next two years to undertake a water security feasibility study in the remote community of Scotdesco, on the eastern edge of the Nullarbor Plain.

The 50 residents in Scotdesco rely on rainwater in the town’s catchment dam for access to drinking water.

Scotdesco Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Robert Larking said while the La Nina seasons over the past two years had provided some relief, in previous years, the town had completely run out of water.

“I’m very thrilled with the announcement, and I’d just like to congratulate the Labor Party for listening to our concerns,” he said.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have some rain these past couple of months, and we’re sitting on probably six and a half foot — so out there, it’s probably half full.

“In the past five to six years we’ve been in drought, so we were probably only receiving about a third of our rainfall, 100ml, a year.”

Mr Larking said when the community was suffering through drought, they had to buy its water, which came at a heavy price.

“We had to buy trucks to bring water into the community,” he said.

“We used to run reverse osmosis probably 10 years ago, but the cost of running a desalination plant was just huge.

“One membrane would cost like $8,000, so with six in the desalination plant, it was $36,000 just in membranes, and we’d probably have to change them every quarter.”

South Australian Council of Social Service chief Ross Womersley welcomed the federal government’s support for Scotdesco but said it was just one step towards addressing wider issues in remote communities across the country.

“Scotdesco has for a long time struggled to deal with the issues of water security, and like many remote communities, the issue of long-term access to affordable, high-quality water supply remains a really crucial issue,” he said.

“We think the investment in the research around helping Scotdesco deal with their circumstances is the starting point to a much bigger conversation about helping remote South Australia deal with long-term access to affordable, potable water supply for drinking purposes.”

2021/22: Legionella found at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

Legionella bacteria found again at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital after man died with the infection

May 4 2022

https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/health/legionella-bacteria-found-again-at-sir-charles-gairdner-hospital-after-man-died-with-the-infection–c-6680508

A potentially deadly bacteria has been detected again at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, reigniting health concerns after a recent death.

Legionella was found in three water outlets, a North Metropolitan Health Service spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday.

It comes after Guyren Mayne died in October after becoming infected with the bacteria — which he picked-up during his hospital stay.

The spokesperson said no new patient infections had been identified and no rooms had been closed.

“As part of our enhanced water management plan which involves regular testing of more than a thousand water outlets, we recently detected the presence of legionella pneumophila in three water outlets (hand basin taps) located in an outpatient area and ward room,” they said.

“The finding of legionella in a water system is not unusual, especially from outlets that are not in regular use. Remediation includes placing a bacterial filter on the water outlets (taps) to render them immediately safe, as well as treating them to remove the bacteria.”

Testing and resampling of the water is ongoing.

SCGH has come under fire recently for waiting four months to inform Mr Mayne’s family that he contracted legionella before he died.

Although, NMHS acting chief executive Tony Dolan said there were changes to the next-of-kin which delayed the open disclosure process.

Freedom of Information requests by The West also revealed water levels at the hospital had bacteria counts 70 times the level considered safe.

Shadow health minister Libby Mettam has previously accused the McGowan Government of a “cover-up” after NMHS last year denied any water contamination.

Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson has been contacted for comment.

Legionella bacteria found at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital after patient post-mortem

Dec 2 2021

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-02/legionella-bacteria-at-sir-charles-gairdner-hospital-perth/100671024

A detection of Legionella bacteria at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth has led to 16 rooms being treated for the bacteria and two patients receiving precautionary antibiotics.

A deceased patient, who had been receiving palliative care, was found to be infected with Legionella pneumophila during a post-mortem examination.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the North Metropolitan Health Service said it could not be concluded the person had died as a direct result of Legionella pneumophila.

“The hospital does not receive the Coroner’s autopsy report so it is not possible to determine the contribution of the Legionella,” she said.

After the infection was confirmed, water filters were installed in two rooms where that patient had been receiving care.

Initial samples showed a positive result for Legionella pneumpohila in those rooms and heated water flushing was conducted.

One of the rooms was reopened but the other remained closed.

The hospital then treated 14 other rooms which had to be closed for two hours, but all had since been reopened.

“Following the immediate application of bacterial filters to the two rooms and their remediation, together with a comprehensive inpatient review, the risk to staff and patients was considered extremely low,” the North Metropolitan Health Service spokeswoman said.

“However, as a precautionary measure two patients who were considered at high risk on the same ward were informed and agreed to receiving a prophylactic antibiotic.”

The spokeswoman said it was not uncommon for some bacteria to be found in a hospital’s water supply and Sir Charles Gairdner was regularly tested.

Legionella bacteria can lead to the potentially deadly Legionnaires’ disease.

Health Minister ‘disappointed’ he was not told

Health Minister Roger Cook denied claims made by the Opposition that he had dismissed the issue when it was raised in parliament last week.

“I have received no brief to the effect that there is any concern with the hospital water at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital,” Mr Cook said at the time.

In a statement released on Thursday evening, Mr Cook said he appreciated the hospital had taken action to limit the risk to patients.

But he was critical of the fact that he was not informed of the issue until after it was raised in parliament.

“I have written to the chair of the North Metropolitan Health Board to this effect,” he said.

“It is essential that significant matters such as these are identified and brought to my attention.”

In a statement, the North Metropolitan Health Service Board chair David Forbes told the ABC he acknowledged Mr Cook’s disappointment.

“[I] deeply regret not adequately informing him about the situation in a timely manner,” he said.

“I plan to address the Minister’s concerns with him.”

Call for better access to post-mortem reports

Mr Cook also said the incident had highlighted a need for doctors to have access to post-mortem reports.

“This matter also highlights the concerning issue of hospitals and treating clinicians not having access to patient post-mortems,” he said.

“I have spoken with the Attorney-General about this and we are in firm agreement it needs to change.

“The Attorney-General is progressing legislative changes to the Coroners Act to allow post-mortem results to be provided to clinicians and hospitals so they know the cause of death.”

Opposition health spokeswoman Libby Mettam said she remained concerned about the contamination.

“Our heart goes out to the family involved,” Ms Mettam said.

But Mr Cook said he had been reassured there was no ongoing risk.

“I appreciate that Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital took immediate action to limit any potential risk to patients from water contaminated with Legionella,” he said.

22/10/22: Legionella Alert – Perth’s Mount Hospital

Legionella alert: Potentially deadly bacteria detected in drinking water at Perth’s Mount Hospital

Oct 22 2022

https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/health/legionella-alert-potentially-deadly-bacteria-detected-in-drinking-water-at-perths-mount-hospital-c-8627968

A potentially deadly bacteria has been detected in drinking water at Perth’s Mount Hospital, reigniting health concerns after a legionella-linked death last year.

The bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease — a severe form of pneumonia — was found in several water outlets at the Mounts Bay Road facility.

The private hospital’s provider Healthscope said the detection had prompted several remedial actions.

“Patients and all those working at Mount have been advised of the situation, and we are taking all appropriate steps to ensure their ongoing safety while remediation works are underway,” a spokesman said.

The contamination forced the metropolitan health campus to reduce the number of beds available as they ensured all affected rooms were vacant.

Affected water outlets are now out of service, and thermal disinfection is being undertaken in all hot water outlets Patients are also being monitored for the disease.

“We have advised the Department of Health of the issue and will keep them informed of our remediation progress,” the Healthscope spokesman said.

HealthScope confirmed the contamination was found after routine testing of the hospital water system.

Australian Medical Association WA president Mark Duncan-Smith told 7NEWS the risk of infection was low.

“To get into the body and into the lungs it needs to be in an aerosol form, such as in a hot shower. Now at the Mount Hospital at the moment the taps aren’t being used, so really that sort of environment can’t occur,” he said.

“The trace amounts of legionella would not be likely to cause significant disease. It could, but again this is testimony to the Mount for monitoring its environment.”

Mount Hospital said treatments were still being performed, but doctors are speaking with patients to see whether procedures can be postponed until the taps are turned back on.

It comes after legionella was detected at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in May and in 2021.

Perth man Guyren Mayne died in October last year at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital after becoming infected with the bacteria, which he picked-up during a stay.

The family of the 57-year-old former soldier claim it took more than four months for authorities to inform them the late Mr Mayne had contracted Legionnaires’ disease from contaminated hospital water before he died.

He passed away at the hospital on October 6, 2021 — but his loved ones say they only learned of the legionella infection in a Zoom meeting with officials in March.

This was despite health bureaucrats first learning of it in Mr Mayne’s post-mortem on October 28.

North Metropolitan Health Service chief executive Tony Dolan, at the time, said the hospital had communicated with Mr Mayne’s family and prioritised “open disclosure”.

 

2010-2020: Nelsons Road, Borefield. Raw Water. PFAS, Plasticisers

Nelsons Borefield Raw Water Quality 2010-2020

In recent times however, PFAS chemicals were detected in this borefield above the ADWG health guideline value that was first incorporated into the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) in August 2018. This has resulted in Council decommissioning Bores 2 and 5 and taking Bore 3 offline. Bores 1, 4 and 6 are currently below ADWG values but have been blended in some instances to achieve this result. The results from these bores are regularly monitored and reported to DNRME and Queensland Health. Subsequent investigations have identified the Ayr Fire Station as a highly contaminated site. While the exact pathway for contamination of the drinking water bores has not been elucidated (it may be from a PFAS plume emanating from the QFES site, stormwater that washes off the Fire Station Site, or from direct application of firefighting foam to the surface within Nelsons Lagoon), Council now has to manage the impact. Currently bores are operated in pairs, pumped to the Ayr Water Tower directly. This has effectively managed to maintain PFAS levels below the health guideline now that we have developed an understanding of the behaviour of each bore in the borefield. The risk is further mitigated with the blending of bore water from the Chambers Bores 15 and 16 and the construction of a 450mm trunk cross connector directly linking South Ayr to the Ayr Water Tower. It is Councils understanding that QFES is now undertaking the offsite component of a Contaminated Land investigation to identify the extent and direction of expansion of the contamination plume. It is understood that QFES and the Department of Environment and Science will continue to provide information to Council to allow us to understand the extent of the problem. It is expected that Queensland Health and the Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy will also advocate for an appropriate infrastructure solution given the contamination is out of the control of Burdekin Shire Council

PFOA 0.01ug/L (max), 0.004ug/L (av.)

PFHxS 0.13ug/L (max), 0.0284ug/L (av.)

PFOS 0.26ug/L (max), 0.046ug/L (av.)

PFHxS/PFOS 0.43ug/L (max), 0.0813 (av.)

 

2010/22 – South Ayr. Iron, Plasticisers etc

South Ayr (Qld) – Iron

2021/2022: South Ayr (Qld) – Iron 1mg/L (max), 0.224mg/L (mean/av.)

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste),
the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

South Ayr Raw Water Quality 2010-2020

N-Butylbenzenesulfonamide 2.9ug/L (max)

N-Butyl benzenesulfonamide (NBBS), a plasticizer used commercially in the polymerization of polyamide compounds. It is neurotoxic and has been found to induce spastic myelopathy in rabbits.

Low levels of PFAS and Pesticides also detected

2020/21: Home Hill (Queensland). Turbidity, Iron

2020/21: Home Hill (Queensland)

2020/21: Home Hill (Queensland) – Turbidity 5NTU (max), 2.1NTU (average/mean)

Chlorine-resistant pathogen reduction: Where filtration alone is used as the water treatment
process to address identified risks from Cryptosporidium and Giardia, it is essential
that filtration is optimised and consequently the target for the turbidity of water leaving
individual filters should be less than 0.2 NTU, and should not exceed 0.5 NTU at any time
Disinfection: A turbidity of less than 1 NTU is desirable at the time of disinfection with
chlorine unless a higher value can be validated in a specific context.

Aesthetic: Based on aesthetic considerations, the turbidity should not exceed 5 NTU at the
consumer’s tap

Home Hill (Qld) – Iron

2020/2021: Home Hill (Qld) – Iron 0.49mg/L (max), 0.16mg/L (mean/av.)

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste),
the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

 

August 23 2022: South 32 scraps Dendrobium coal mine extension plans in NSW

Australian company South32 scraps Dendrobium coal mine extension plans in NSW

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-23/south32-scraps-dendrobium-coal-mine-extension-plans-nsw/101360104

Australian mining company South32 has announced it will not proceed with a plan to extend the life of its Dendrobium coal mine beneath Sydney’s drinking water catchment.

The company had planned to extract an additional 78 million tonnes of metallurgical coal from the underground operation, west of Wollongong, until 2048.

On Tuesday morning, South32 notified the Australian Stock Exchange it would no longer pursue the project and will instead look to extend the mine life within approved domains.

Its original extension application was rejected by Independent Planning Commission in 2021 and its revised plan later received State Significant Infrastructure status by the New South Wales government.

It was under consideration for approval by the state’s planning minister.

South32 chief executive Graham Kerr said it came to the decision after an extensive analysis of alternatives for the mine.

“Over the past 18 months, we made significant progress actively reshaping our portfolio, and this decision increases our capacity to direct capital towards other opportunities,” Mr Kerr said.

“This includes our world-class development options in North America.

“[It has] the potential to underpin a

significant growth profile to produce metals critical to a low carbon future, servicing strategically important supply chains.”

The company says mining at its nearby Appin colliery is expected to continue at least until 2039.

The Dendrobium mine started operating in 2002 and supplies coal to BlueScope Steel’s Port Kembla plant and the Whyalla Steelworks.

Under its current licence, the mine has consent to continue operating until 2030.

Proposal put ‘great deal at risk’

Deidre Stuart from Protect Our Water Catchment said South32’s announcement came as a relief as it had been a long fight.

“It is great news, the original Dendrobium proposal should never have been allowed in the catchment,” Dr Stuart said.

“There has been a lot of work by a lot of people, the community groups who have tried to raise awareness of the impacts of mining in the catchment

“There was a great deal at risk here.”

Dr Stuart said the state government should take this opportunity to create legislation to prevent any future mining in the water catchment.

Independent MP Justin Field said he was really pleased for the community, which raised legitimate concerns about the project.

“It was really going to be really risky for the water catchments and, of course, the climate impacts were pretty substantial as well,” Mr Field said.

“This is coal and emissions left in the ground, so that is a good thing.

“Hopefully it creates the opportunity to speed up the investment of turning our steel industry green

Union shocked

The district vice president of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union said the decision would affect about 500 direct jobs and hundreds more support roles.

“We had expected the project to move forward so it was very unexpected news this morning for us and our members,” Bob Timbs said.

“The life of the mine at the moment won’t go past 2028 unless they can explore and open up other avenues of mining in the current footprint.

“They’ve said their expected returns don’t support the investment and that’s fair enough but that’s bad news for us, bad news for our members and bad news for the Illawarra.”

Mr Timbs anticipated younger members would start to consider their exit strategy from the operation but said the company’s decision did not spell the end of coal mining locally.

“Not at all, there’s still a lot of coal in the area to be mined.. it’s certainly not the end of the coal industry in the southern coal fields,” he said.

“There’s six years in front of us and with a bit of luck there might be some further extensions or expansions to the mine that might take it out past 2028.

“So we’ve got a lot of time to assist our members.”

Continued supply for BlueScope

During a hearing of the Independent Planning Commission in 2020, BlueScope Steel told the panel an extension of the mine was “critical” to the survival of its Australian operations as South32 supplied two thirds of its coking coal requirements.

On Tuesday, a BlueScope spokesperson said it welcomed the company’s new direction.

“BlueScope currently procures a blend of coal from [Illawarra Metallurgical Coal’s] IMC’s Dendrobium and Appin coal mines under a long-term contract to 2032,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“We welcome South32’s announcement that they will continue to optimise Dendrobium and the broader IMC complex to extend the mine life within approved domains.

“This is supportive of continued supply of metallurgical coal to BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks.”

10/8/22: Langs Road, Ascot Vale. Possible contamination

August 10 2022: Langs Road Ascot Vale, Melbourne

Do not use’: The Melburnians told to stop using tap water amid contamination scare

August 10 2022: Langs Road Ascot Vale, Melbourne

Do not use’: The Melburnians told to stop using tap water amid contamination scare (Globeecho.com)

Dozens of residents in Melbourne’s north west have been left without water for days after they were told it had been contaminated and shut off without warning.

Some 33 customers on Langs Road, Ascot Vale had their water supply turned off by Greater Western Water on Tuesday, after the water was declared unsafe to drink, cook with or even shower with.

Greater Western Water’s Maree Lang said the residents had been issued a “do not use” notice.

The decision was made in consultation with the Health Department after Greater Western Water noticed potential contamination in the water of a burst pipe they were inspecting.

It’s believed a truck taking water from the burst pipe accidentally pumped some back in, potentially causing the contamination.

The Ascot Vale Leisure Centre has also been impacted. Credit: 7NEWS

Resident Joshua Marmara told 7NEWS it was frustrating they weren’t given some sort of heads up on what was happening.

“It’d be really nice if they told us from the outset, you know just an email, even a call, doesn’t matter if it’s early in the morning, just something to communicate,” he said.

The Ascot Vale Leisure Centre and Ascot Vale West Primary School have also been affected by the halted water supply.

Impacted residents have been offered free accommodation at a nearby hotel until the issue is resolved, however, it is not yet clear when the water will be turned back on.

15/5/19: Roseneath (Qld) – Chlorate

Roseneath – (Queensland) Chlorate

15/5/19: Roseneath (Qld) Chlorates 940µg/L.

Localised incident as chlorates at all other sites were low. Hypochlorite stock was replaced at Roseneath Reservoir and resamples returned chlorate concentration of at 0.559 µg/L and 0.320µg/L. Readvised staff of the requirement to monitor stock appropriately and replace before stock becomes old and decays, even if it means replacing it before it has been used up.

Chlorite: ADWG Health 0.3mg/L.

Chlorite and chlorate are disinfection by-products of chlorine dioxide disinfection process.

“… industry are having serious problems meeting chlorite/chlorate limits that were proposed in the new Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, especially for disinfection in long distance pipelines that are dosed with sodium hyptochlorite” pers comm 18/5/11.

“Chlorite occurs in drinking water when chlorine dioxide is used for purification purposes. The
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that chlorite is not classifiable as carcinogenic to humans and is listed in the Group 3 category. Changes in red blood vessels due to oxidative stress are a major concern with excessive levels of Chlorite in drinking water. According to the US EPA, potential health problems for people drinking Chorite above safe drinking water guideline include: Anemia in infants and young children and nervous system effects.” https://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm

“Chlorine dioxide (chlorite) is rarely used as a disinfectant in Australian reticulated supplies.
When used, the chlorite residual is generally maintained between 0.2mg/L and 0.4mg/L. It is
particularly effective inthe control of manganese-reducing bacteria. Few data are available on
chlorate levels in Australian water supplies….Chlorine dioxide, chlorite, and chlorate are all
absorbed rapidly by the gastrointestinal tract into blood plasma and distributed to the major
organs. All compounds appear to be rapidly metabolised. Chlorine dioxide has been shown to
impair neurobehavioural and neurological development in rats exposed before birth. Experimental studies with rats and monkeys exposed to chlorine dioxide in drinking water have shown some evidence of thyroid toxicity; however, because of the studies’ limitations, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions (WHO 2005) The primary concern with chlorite and chlorate is oxidative stress resulting in changes in red blood cells. This end point is seen in laboratory animals and, by analogy with chlorate, in humans exposed to high doses in poisoning incidents (WHO 2005).” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines – National Health and Medical Research Centre

“…Subchronic studies in animals (cats, mice, rats and monkeys) indicate that chlorite and chlorate cause haematological changes (osmotic fragility, oxidative stress, increase in mean corpuscular volume), stomach lesions and increased spleen and adrenal weights… Neurobehavioural effects (lowered auditory startle amplitude, decreased brain weight and decreased exploratory activity) are the most sensitive endpoints following oral exposure to chlorite…” https://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/water-eau/chlorite-chlorate/indexeng.
php#sec10_1Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.

18/1/19: Balgal Beach/Toolakea (Queensland) – Lead

18/1/19 – Balgal Beach/Toolakea (Queensland) – Lead

18/1/19 Balgal Beach/Toolakea (Queensland) – Lead 0.012mg/L and 0.013mg/L.

No lead detections elsewhere in the system or at the WTP on this date or in previous weeks. It was determined that this was a localised issue at the two sample taps. Resample did not detect lead and previous samples at  these points had not detected lead. Sample points were replaced with dedicated Ned Kelly sample points and lead has not been detected since.

Lead Australian Drinking Water Guideline 0.01mg/L

“… Lead can be present in drinking water as a result of dissolution from natural sources, or from household plumbing systems containing lead. These may include lead in pipes, or in solder used to seal joints. The amount of lead dissolved will depend on a number of factors including pH, water hardness and the standing time of the water.

Lead is the most common of the heavy metals and is mined widely throughout the world. It is used in the production of lead acid batteries, solder, alloys, cable sheathing, paint pigments, rust inhibitors, ammunition, glazes and plastic stabilisers. The organo-lead compounds tetramethyl and tetraethyl lead are used extensively as anti-knock and lubricating compounds in gasoline…ADWG 2011

2018/19: Redland City (Queensland) – Lead

2018/19 – Redland (Queensland) – Lead

2018/19: Redland (Queensland) – Lead 0.012mg/L (max).

Lead Australian Drinking Water Guideline 0.01mg/L

“… Lead can be present in drinking water as a result of dissolution from natural sources, or from household plumbing systems containing lead. These may include lead in pipes, or in solder used to seal joints. The amount of lead dissolved will depend on a number of factors including pH, water hardness and the standing time of the water.

Lead is the most common of the heavy metals and is mined widely throughout the world. It is used in the production of lead acid batteries, solder, alloys, cable sheathing, paint pigments, rust inhibitors, ammunition, glazes and plastic stabilisers. The organo-lead compounds tetramethyl and tetraethyl lead are used extensively as anti-knock and lubricating compounds in gasoline…ADWG 2011

2020/21 – Lower Plenty (Victoria) – Turbidity

Lower Plenty (Victoria) – Turbidity

2020/21: Lower Plenty (Victoria) – Turbidity 9.2NTU (max), 1.98NTU (95th percentile)

Chlorine-resistant pathogen reduction: Where filtration alone is used as the water treatment
process to address identified risks from Cryptosporidium and Giardia, it is essential
that filtration is optimised and consequently the target for the turbidity of water leaving
individual filters should be less than 0.2 NTU, and should not exceed 0.5 NTU at any time
Disinfection: A turbidity of less than 1 NTU is desirable at the time of disinfection with
chlorine unless a higher value can be validated in a specific context.

Aesthetic: Based on aesthetic considerations, the turbidity should not exceed 5 NTU at the
consumer’s tap

2019/20: Laura (Queensland) – Chlorate

Laura (Queensland) – Chlorate

30/6/20: Laura (Queensland) Chlorate 0.8mg/L

13/8/19: Laura Library (Queensland) Chlorate 1.54mg/L

10/2/20: Laura Roadhouse (Queensland) Chlorate 0.936mg/L

11/5/20: Laura Telstra Hut (Queensland) Chlorate 1.2mg/L

Chlorite: ADWG Health 0.3mg/L.

Chlorite and chlorate are disinfection by-products of chlorine dioxide disinfection process.

“… industry are having serious problems meeting chlorite/chlorate limits that were proposed in the new Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, especially for disinfection in long distance pipelines that are dosed with sodium hyptochlorite” pers comm 18/5/11.

“Chlorite occurs in drinking water when chlorine dioxide is used for purification purposes. The
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that chlorite is not classifiable as carcinogenic to humans and is listed in the Group 3 category. Changes in red blood vessels due to oxidative stress are a major concern with excessive levels of Chlorite in drinking water. According to the US EPA, potential health problems for people drinking Chorite above safe drinking water guideline include: Anemia in infants and young children and nervous system effects.” https://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm

“Chlorine dioxide (chlorite) is rarely used as a disinfectant in Australian reticulated supplies.
When used, the chlorite residual is generally maintained between 0.2mg/L and 0.4mg/L. It is
particularly effective in the control of manganese-reducing bacteria. Few data are available on
chlorate levels in Australian water supplies….Chlorine dioxide, chlorite, and chlorate are all
absorbed rapidly by the gastrointestinal tract into blood plasma and distributed to the major
organs. All compounds appear to be rapidly metabolised. Chlorine dioxide has been shown to
impair neurobehavioural and neurological development in rats exposed before birth. Experimental studies with rats and monkeys exposed to chlorine dioxide in drinking water have shown some evidence of thyroid toxicity; however, because of the studies’ limitations, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions (WHO 2005) The primary concern with chlorite and chlorate is oxidative stress resulting in changes in red blood cells. This end point is seen in laboratory animals and, by analogy with chlorate, in humans exposed to high doses in poisoning incidents (WHO 2005).” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines – National Health and Medical Research Centre

“…Subchronic studies in animals (cats, mice, rats and monkeys) indicate that chlorite and chlorate cause haematological changes (osmotic fragility, oxidative stress, increase in mean corpuscular volume), stomach lesions and increased spleen and adrenal weights… Neurobehavioural effects (lowered auditory startle amplitude, decreased brain weight and decreased exploratory activity) are the most sensitive endpoints following oral exposure to chlorite…” https://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/water-eau/chlorite-chlorate/indexeng.
php#sec10_1Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.

2022 July – Brocklehurst (NSW) – Boil Water Alert, Turbidity

Brocklehurst (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.

2022 July – Mogriguy (NSW) – Boil Water Alert, Turbidity

Mogriguy (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.

2022 July – Ballimore (NSW) – Boil Water Alert, Turbidity

Ballimore (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.

2022 July – Eumungerie (NSW) – Boil Water Alert, Turbidity

Eumungerie (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.

2022 July – Wongarbon (NSW) – Boil Water Alert, Turbidity

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.

July 2022: Firgrove (NSW) – Boil Water Alert, Turbidity

Firgrove (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.

2021 March: Sawmill Settlement (Victoria) – E.coli

March 24/27 2021: Sawmill Settlement (Vic) – E.coli.
E.coli was detected in the Sawmill Settlement Rosella St Clearwater Storage (CWS) and
reticulation system (retic) after routine monitoring.
490org/100mL (max). 2 Non-complying samples. 1 detection and investigation conducted (s.22), 2 samples where the Standard was not met (s.18)
GVW undertook an immediate check of water treatment plant (WTP) operations, no
operational issues of the WTP were found that would cause such an issue.
There were no Critical Control Point (CCP) failures and all other WTP processes and parameters
had been operating within normal operating ranges. Inspection of the CWS by drone and internal
observation found light penetration from a previous repair to the roof. Suggesting possible ingress
from recent rain as the most likely cause of the E.coli detections.
GVW declared a Level 2 Incident and formed an Incident Control Centre (ICC). GVW issued a Boiled
Water Advisory (BWA) in consultation with the Department of Health (DH) to our customers in the
water sampling locality. Repairs to the roof of the CWS where the suspected ingress occurred were
undertaken on the 24 March 2021. Chlorine levels in both CWS were increased to 1.5mg/L.
Resampling occurred after flushing and then a second round of sampling occurred late on the
afternoon/evening of the 25 March 2021. All resampling results complied with the SDWA 2015.
Customers were advised of the BWA via SMS, Website, social media and media release, variable
message boards, specific information to critical customers who were all personally and directly
contacted. Bottled water and water tanker was provided to customers from a pickup point in the
town as an alternative source of drinking water. Temporary supply was established for key sites
(school and accommodation facilities) for the duration of the event.
The BWA was lifted on the 27 March 2021 in consultation with DH
E.coli

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

21/6/20 – Boisdale (Victoria) – E.coli

21/6/20: Boisdale (Vic) – E.coli.
Boisdale drinking water reticulation sample point. Detection of E. Coli at a concentration of 1 org/100mL in routine drinking water sampling program. Resampling of the Boisdale reticulation system including the water storage tanks and all available sampling points. Asset inspections and risk assessment of the Boisdale water system. Spot dosing of the Boisdale water tanks and flushing of the reticulation system
Two repeat sampling events of the Boisdale reticulation 24 hrs apart.Minor repairs to the one
water storage tank.
All water quality indicators including residual free chlorine were within our CCPs for system
protection and immediate risk determined to be very low
E.coli

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

2022 June/July – Cossack (Northern Territory) – PFAS

Cossack (Northern Territory) – PFAS

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-05/pfas-found-in-cossack-katherine-water-contamination/101204766

Cossack resident Jens Ambjerg-Peterson wants to know why his property was not tested for PFAS after the chemical, associated with various cancers and other health problems, was detected in his suburb.

He is among residents on Katherine’s south-western outskirts whose sense of security was shattered by last month’s discovery that the chemical is continuing to spread more than half a decade after it was found to be leaching into the Katherine township’s drinking water

Mr Ambjerg-Peterson’s house was outside a PFAS contamination zone that was created after the chemical was discovered in a river by the Department of Defence in 2016, and traced back to the Tindal Royal Australian Air Force Base.

PFAS chemicals were used in firefighting foams at Australian defence bases until the early 2000s.

The lines of the contamination zone have since been redefined, but residents in the area say they have been kept in the dark.

Six private properties within the Cossack area have been monitored under the Ongoing Monitoring Plan since 2019,” a department spokeswoman said.

She said another nine private properties were added to the monitoring program in 2021, bringing the total to 15.

Properties left untested

According to the the most recent Census, there were 625 homes in Cossack and more than 1,200 residents.

Mr Ambjerg-Peterson said his bore had never been tested for PFAS.

“The boundary is the bitumen road at the front of my house … it’s been a designated line in the sand and that line is 4 metres from my bore,” he said.

He said most properties in the area were dependent on bore water for irrigation and drinking.

Dangers of PFAS

The Commonwealth’s Expert Health Panel for PFAS said there was limited-to-no evidence of human disease or other clinically significant harm resulting from PFAS exposure but as a precaution, recommends minimal exposure to PFAS wherever possible.

In the US, renowned activist Erin Brockovich said research was uncovering strong links to reproductive issues and some cancers.

A Four Corners investigation in 2017 revealed the Defence Department knew about the dangers of the firefighting foam as early as 1987, but continued to use it.

Mr Ambjerg-Peterson said lingering questions and uncertainty about whether or not his water was safe to drink were rattling.

The Department of Defence spokeswoman said PFAS had been detected at eight private properties in the Cossack area, and three properties had been provided alternative drinking water.

However, questions on what levels of PFAS had been found at the properties and why dozens of residents in the area had not had their bores tested were not answered.

“Defence is unable to provide results of sampling at individual properties due to privacy issues,” she said.

She said the department assessed samples from groundwater, surface water and biota, which were primarily fish.

“Monitoring occurs on both public and private property,” she said.

She said the monitoring plan would be reviewed regularly and the department would update the frequency of sampling or the locations in consultation with the NT Environment Protection Authority as required.

‘We don’t know where it has moved’

Fellow Cossack residents Sander Klarenbeek and Lynnvette Rebeiro said they feared they were drinking contaminated water.

They questioned why their property also had not been tested for PFAS.

The Department of Defence held a meeting in Katherine in June to update residents on where the chemical had spread.

The meeting was attended by at least a dozen residents. Mr Klarenbeek and Ms Rebeiro said they were not aware the meeting was on.

“We don’t know where it has moved. We don’t know if our bores are affected. We don’t know which bores are affected,” Mr Klarenbeek said.

They said their preceding notion of safety had been replaced by health fears and distress over potential property devaluation.

Bruce Francias, who lives inside the contamination zone a few streets away, said the department tested his bore for PFAS about two years ago.

Results came back negative but it was a different story just 100 metres away at his neighbour’s property.

“It was positive for PFAS and they were given a rainwater tank,” he said.

Mr Francais was at last month’s meeting, and after hearing the chemical had spread further through his suburb, he became alarmed.

“Considering my neighbour tested positive, I would have thought my property would have been looked at again,” he said.

“A lot can happen in 18 months.”

Lack of information sparks rumours

University of Queensland communications expert Kelly Fielding said poor communication could decay trust with the community and cause an “information vacuum”.

She said it was critical when dealing with potential hazards or health risks to communicate “early, often and fully”.

“What can fill that vacuum is misinformation and rumour,” she said.

“For the community members themselves, what this lack of communication does is it makes them feel very uncertain, much more worried than they might need to be because they don’t have good, accurate information.

She said it made it harder for people to work out what precautions they needed to be taking.

“That uncertainty, the worry, the concern that they might have about what’s happening, [whether they are] at risk … is my family at risk … that has a big impact on people’s lives,” she said.

2018 July – Lucinda (Qld) – PFAS

Lucinda (Qld – Hinchinbrook Council) – PFAS breaches

The Australian Drinking Water Guideline for PFHxS+PFOS is 0.07ug/L. This level was breached at Lucinda in July 2018 at 3 seperate locations at Lucinda. The level was also breached at nearby Macknade in 2018 and 2020. Macknade WTP supplies drinking water to Lucinda.

Lucinda BPS

12/7/18: PFHxS 0.021ug/L, PFOS 0.055ug/L

Lucinda Pump

23/7/18: PFHxS 0.009ug/L, PFOS 0.024ug/L

Sample Point 14 Dungeness

12/7/18: PFHxS 0.022ug/L, PFOS 0.058ug/L

23/7/18: PFHxS 0.009ug/L, PFOS 0.024ug/L

2/8/18: PFOS 0.005ug/L

Sample Point 12 Patterson Pde

12/7/18: PFHxS 0.022ug/L, PFOS 0.061ug/L

23/7/18: PFHxS 0.01ug/L, PFOS 0.026ug/L

SP 13 Vass Street

17/12/20: PFOS 0.002ug/L

2020/21: Kelsey Creek (Queensland) – Manganese

Kelsey Creek (Queensland) – Manganese

2021/21: Kelsey Creek (Qld)  0.5469mg/L

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 and laundry.

 

 

2020/21 – Calen (Qld) – E.coli, Hardness

2020/21: Calen (Qld) – E.coli.
2020/21: Calen Treated (Qld) – E.coli 49MPN/100mL (max), 4 MPN/100mL (mean)
December 7 2021: E. coli was detected in a routine sample collected from the Calen treated water sample point. Samples  collected on the following day and from reticulation sample points detected no E. coli. Low chlorine levels  were detected in the original sample. The plant only typically operates during the night, therefore, in order to collect samples it is run in manual mode. In field testing identified that when Bore 2 was operated in manual mode, or when regenerations occurred, chlorine dosing did not always occur. When the Calen reservoir was full, chlorine dosing was not occurring during the regeneration cycle. This could explain
the low free chlorine readings recorded that were recorded at the treatment plant, and not throughout the reticulation system. During the regenerations, chlorine levels in the treated water are elevated as the chlorine dosing rate is constant but the flow rate to distribution is reduced. If the Calen reservoir is full, chlorine dosing will be suspended during the regeneration period. The regeneration cycle typically occurs once a week for a period of 90 minutes. A review of the Calen Water Treatment Plant operational code identified that along with the conflict in the code when pump 2 was run in manual mode, there were other errors in the code which may cause issues with chlorine dosing when the raw water tanks were in operation. Amendments to the code have been made
E.coli

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

Calen (Qld)  Hardness

2020/21: Calen Reticulation (Qld) – Hardness 262.41mg/L (max), 158.99mg/L (min)

2020/21: Calen Treated (Qld) – Hardness 259.42mg/L (max), 157.85mg/L (min)

GUIDELINE

“To minimise undesirable build‑up of scale in hot water systems, total hardness (as calcium
carbonate) in drinking water should not exceed 200 mg/L.

Hard water requires more soap than soft water to obtain a lather. It can also cause scale to form on hot water pipes and fittings. Hardness is caused primarily by the presence of calcium and magnesium ions, although other cations such as strontium, iron, manganese and barium can also contribute.”

Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011

2019/20 – Cooktown (Qld) – Colour, Turbidity

2019/20 – Cooktown Reticulation (Queensland) – Colour
2019/20: Cooktown (Queensland) – Colour 21 HU (max), 18.5HU (av.)

Based on aesthetic considerations, true colour in drinking water should not exceed 15 HU.

“… Colour is generally related to organic content, and while colour derived from natural sources such as humic and fulvic acids is not a health consideration, chlorination of such water can produce a variety of chlorinated organic compounds as by-products (see Section 6.3.2 on disinfection by-products). If the colour is high at the time of disinfection, then the water should be checked for disinfection by-products. It should be noted, however, that low colour at the time of disinfection does not necessarily mean that the concentration of disinfection by-products will be low…

2019/20 – Cooktown – Turbidity

2019/20: Cooktown – Turbidity 9.9NTU (max), 0.98NTU (av.)

Chlorine-resistant pathogen reduction: Where filtration alone is used as the water treatment
process to address identified risks from Cryptosporidium and Giardia, it is essential
that filtration is optimised and consequently the target for the turbidity of water leaving
individual filters should be less than 0.2 NTU, and should not exceed 0.5 NTU at any time
Disinfection: A turbidity of less than 1 NTU is desirable at the time of disinfection with
chlorine unless a higher value can be validated in a specific context.

Aesthetic: Based on aesthetic considerations, the turbidity should not exceed 5 NTU at the
consumer’s tap

8/1/21 – Dereel (Victoria) – E.coli

8/1/21: Dereel (Vic) – E.coli.
8 January 2021. Dereel Tank (Ballarat system). E. coli – 1 MPN/100mL. 150 connections in the
distribution system downstream of the network treated water storage tank. Informed DH and initiated incident team response. Confirmed residual disinfection in the tank and upstream
and downstream system. Resampled tank. Conducted an external and internal inspection of tank integrity. A potential minor ingress point on the side of the hatch identified as the most likely source of contamination. Sealing repair conducted on hatch. Spot dosed the tank with disinfectant and verified adequate residual in tank and surrounding reticulation. Resamples post corrective actions clear of contamination. Reviewed Nitrification Action Plan trigger
levels. Reviewed suitability of hatch design and whether the same design was present on any other CHW storages. Connected upstream basin mixer to telemetry system with
fail alarm capability. Investigation report submitted to DH.
E.coli

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

26/8/20 – Skenes Creek (Victoria) – E.coli

26/8/20: Skenes Creek (Vic) – E.coli.
26 August, 2020. Apollo Bay. Detection of Escherichia coli in drinking  water (1 MPN/100ml).
On 26 August, Barwon Water was notified of a detection of E. coli and notified DH under
section 22 of the Act. The E. coli was detected in a water quality sample taken the previous
morning from a distribution tank in the Skenes Creek High Level system in the Apollo Bay
locality. The tank supply 5 supply-by-agreement customers.
An investigation was carried out in accordance with Department of Health (DH) guidelines,along with corrective actions which included system review, retesting of the original sample and chlorine dosing followed by sampling.The follow-up samples were free of E. coli and total coliforms. The Department of Health made an assessment requiring Barwon Water to submit a section 18 for noncompliance with the E. coli water quality standard. This was based on not meeting all of the criteria required to claim a false positive outcome. All contributing factors
have been addressed in order to prevent future reoccurrence.
E.coli

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

2020 February – McDougalls Hill (NSW) – Turbidity

Singleton boil water alert 10/2/20 – 17/2/20

A precautionary boil water alert for parts of Singleton has been lifted after NSW Health gave the all clear at a meeting with Singleton Council this morning.

The boil water alert was issued for the Glade, Gowrie, Maison Dieu and Hambledon Hill on Monday 10 February, and extended to McDougalls Hill on Tuesday 11 February following water sampling results received late Monday 10 February that showed turbidity above and chlorine levels below the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Investigations into the cause of test results indicated that dirt entered the water network during heavy rainfall across 8-9 February.

Council staff worked across the weekend with testing showing that turbidity and chlorine levels had returned to normal.

Katie Hardy, Council’s Manager Water and Sewer Network, said Council staff would doorknock residents with information the boil water alert had been lifted, as well as contact businesses. Customers who collected free bottled water will also be emailed.

Information will be available on Council’s website and Facebook page as well as on the variable message board on Maison Dieu Road.

Customers in the affected areas of The Glade, Gowrie, Maison Dieu and Hambledon Hill and McDougalls Hill are advised to flush their pipework by running their back outdoor tap for 10 minutes before resuming normal use. Flushing of pipework in properties affected by the boil water alert is exempt from water restrictions.

The standpipe at Maison Dieu will be recommissioned for normal use and has been flushed by Council Officers.

“Council teams have been hard at work since the boil water alert was issued to drain and clean the reservoirs and scour pipework within the affected area,” Ms Hardy said.

“Since the reservoirs were flushed last Thursday and Friday, we’ve been undertaking regular testing across the weekend that showed the water was back to safe levels with no microbial contamination detected.

“On the advice of NSW Health, the boil water alert has now been lifted.

“We advise customers to flush their system by running their external tap for 10 minutes, which will be exempt from water restrictions, before drinking the water.”

Ms Hardy said Council was aware of the concern in the community as a result of the boil water alert, and thousands of bottles of water were distributed to affected residents in response to the situation.

“Council appreciates this situation caused some inconvenience for our customers last week, and we thank you for your patience and understanding,” she said.

2020 February – Hambledon Hill (NSW) – Turbidity

Singleton boil water alert 10/2/20 – 17/2/20

A precautionary boil water alert for parts of Singleton has been lifted after NSW Health gave the all clear at a meeting with Singleton Council this morning.

The boil water alert was issued for the Glade, Gowrie, Maison Dieu and Hambledon Hill on Monday 10 February, and extended to McDougalls Hill on Tuesday 11 February following water sampling results received late Monday 10 February that showed turbidity above and chlorine levels below the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Investigations into the cause of test results indicated that dirt entered the water network during heavy rainfall across 8-9 February.

Council staff worked across the weekend with testing showing that turbidity and chlorine levels had returned to normal.

Katie Hardy, Council’s Manager Water and Sewer Network, said Council staff would doorknock residents with information the boil water alert had been lifted, as well as contact businesses. Customers who collected free bottled water will also be emailed.

Information will be available on Council’s website and Facebook page as well as on the variable message board on Maison Dieu Road.

Customers in the affected areas of The Glade, Gowrie, Maison Dieu and Hambledon Hill and McDougalls Hill are advised to flush their pipework by running their back outdoor tap for 10 minutes before resuming normal use. Flushing of pipework in properties affected by the boil water alert is exempt from water restrictions.

The standpipe at Maison Dieu will be recommissioned for normal use and has been flushed by Council Officers.

“Council teams have been hard at work since the boil water alert was issued to drain and clean the reservoirs and scour pipework within the affected area,” Ms Hardy said.

“Since the reservoirs were flushed last Thursday and Friday, we’ve been undertaking regular testing across the weekend that showed the water was back to safe levels with no microbial contamination detected.

“On the advice of NSW Health, the boil water alert has now been lifted.

“We advise customers to flush their system by running their external tap for 10 minutes, which will be exempt from water restrictions, before drinking the water.”

Ms Hardy said Council was aware of the concern in the community as a result of the boil water alert, and thousands of bottles of water were distributed to affected residents in response to the situation.

“Council appreciates this situation caused some inconvenience for our customers last week, and we thank you for your patience and understanding,” she said.

2020 February – Gowrie (NSW) – Turbidity

Singleton boil water alert 10/2/20 – 17/2/20

A precautionary boil water alert for parts of Singleton has been lifted after NSW Health gave the all clear at a meeting with Singleton Council this morning.

The boil water alert was issued for the Glade, Gowrie, Maison Dieu and Hambledon Hill on Monday 10 February, and extended to McDougalls Hill on Tuesday 11 February following water sampling results received late Monday 10 February that showed turbidity above and chlorine levels below the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Investigations into the cause of test results indicated that dirt entered the water network during heavy rainfall across 8-9 February.

Council staff worked across the weekend with testing showing that turbidity and chlorine levels had returned to normal.

Katie Hardy, Council’s Manager Water and Sewer Network, said Council staff would doorknock residents with information the boil water alert had been lifted, as well as contact businesses. Customers who collected free bottled water will also be emailed.

Information will be available on Council’s website and Facebook page as well as on the variable message board on Maison Dieu Road.

Customers in the affected areas of The Glade, Gowrie, Maison Dieu and Hambledon Hill and McDougalls Hill are advised to flush their pipework by running their back outdoor tap for 10 minutes before resuming normal use. Flushing of pipework in properties affected by the boil water alert is exempt from water restrictions.

The standpipe at Maison Dieu will be recommissioned for normal use and has been flushed by Council Officers.

“Council teams have been hard at work since the boil water alert was issued to drain and clean the reservoirs and scour pipework within the affected area,” Ms Hardy said.

“Since the reservoirs were flushed last Thursday and Friday, we’ve been undertaking regular testing across the weekend that showed the water was back to safe levels with no microbial contamination detected.

“On the advice of NSW Health, the boil water alert has now been lifted.

“We advise customers to flush their system by running their external tap for 10 minutes, which will be exempt from water restrictions, before drinking the water.”

Ms Hardy said Council was aware of the concern in the community as a result of the boil water alert, and thousands of bottles of water were distributed to affected residents in response to the situation.

“Council appreciates this situation caused some inconvenience for our customers last week, and we thank you for your patience and understanding,” she said.

2020 February – Maison Dieu (NSW) – Turbidity

Singleton boil water alert 10/2/20 – 17/2/20

A precautionary boil water alert for parts of Singleton has been lifted after NSW Health gave the all clear at a meeting with Singleton Council this morning.

The boil water alert was issued for the Glade, Gowrie, Maison Dieu and Hambledon Hill on Monday 10 February, and extended to McDougalls Hill on Tuesday 11 February following water sampling results received late Monday 10 February that showed turbidity above and chlorine levels below the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Investigations into the cause of test results indicated that dirt entered the water network during heavy rainfall across 8-9 February.

Council staff worked across the weekend with testing showing that turbidity and chlorine levels had returned to normal.

Katie Hardy, Council’s Manager Water and Sewer Network, said Council staff would doorknock residents with information the boil water alert had been lifted, as well as contact businesses. Customers who collected free bottled water will also be emailed.

Information will be available on Council’s website and Facebook page as well as on the variable message board on Maison Dieu Road.

Customers in the affected areas of The Glade, Gowrie, Maison Dieu and Hambledon Hill and McDougalls Hill are advised to flush their pipework by running their back outdoor tap for 10 minutes before resuming normal use. Flushing of pipework in properties affected by the boil water alert is exempt from water restrictions.

The standpipe at Maison Dieu will be recommissioned for normal use and has been flushed by Council Officers.

“Council teams have been hard at work since the boil water alert was issued to drain and clean the reservoirs and scour pipework within the affected area,” Ms Hardy said.

“Since the reservoirs were flushed last Thursday and Friday, we’ve been undertaking regular testing across the weekend that showed the water was back to safe levels with no microbial contamination detected.

“On the advice of NSW Health, the boil water alert has now been lifted.

“We advise customers to flush their system by running their external tap for 10 minutes, which will be exempt from water restrictions, before drinking the water.”

Ms Hardy said Council was aware of the concern in the community as a result of the boil water alert, and thousands of bottles of water were distributed to affected residents in response to the situation.

“Council appreciates this situation caused some inconvenience for our customers last week, and we thank you for your patience and understanding,” she said.

Jan 24 2018 – Aberglasslyn (NSW) – Colour

Residents across six Maitland suburbs affected by dirty drinking water

Jan 24 2018: https://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/5185189/dirty-water-warning/

Maitland’s extreme heat is said to be the cause of dirty tap water affecting resident’s across six of the city’s suburbs.

Hunter Water has confirmed it has received calls from Rutherford, Telarah, Gillieston Heights and Greta residents about water soiling their washing and discolouring their drinking and bath water this week.

Aberglasslyn and Metford residents have also posted comments and photographs on Facebook about their poor water quality, one image showing of a glass of tap water which looked more like a urine specimen.

Aberglasslyn resident Anne-Maree Musgrove posted a picture of one of her bath towels soiled by the discoloured water.

he said she has to leave her taps running for 10 minutes for the discolouration to disappear.

“I saw the colour of the water on the floor of shower and it looked like I was washing off a fake tan,” she said.

“I wasn’t expecting it to stay on my skin and on my towel.”

Michele O’Meley also of Aberglasslyn, cancelled her son’s 16th birthday pool party because of the state of the water used to fill her pool.

She said she will complain to Hunter Water about the poor water quality in her area.

“Our pool guy charged us double the usual fee and we had to keep the water running and the pump running to clear it. It happened on a Saturday and we had a 16th birthday pool party for my son and his mates planned.

“It had to be cancelled and we had to do something away from the water because the water looked disgusting,” she said.

Hunter Water said a small number of customers had experienced discoloured water across some Maitland suburbs.

A company spokesperson said extreme heat had placed high demand on Hunter Water’s system in recent days and as a result of the sudden increase in the rate of water flow, it caused natural sediment in the bottom of the pipes to dislodge and temporarily change the appearance of tap water.

“Discoloured water is usually aesthetic, rather than a health issue, but people should avoid drinking their tap water if it is discoloured,” the spokesperson said.

“Customers can first try clearing their water by turning a tap on full for a few minutes to flush their plumbing.

Jan 24 2018 – Greta (NSW) – Colour

Residents across six Maitland suburbs affected by dirty drinking water

Jan 24 2018: https://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/5185189/dirty-water-warning/

Maitland’s extreme heat is said to be the cause of dirty tap water affecting resident’s across six of the city’s suburbs.

Hunter Water has confirmed it has received calls from Rutherford, Telarah, Gillieston Heights and Greta residents about water soiling their washing and discolouring their drinking and bath water this week.

Aberglasslyn and Metford residents have also posted comments and photographs on Facebook about their poor water quality, one image showing of a glass of tap water which looked more like a urine specimen.

Aberglasslyn resident Anne-Maree Musgrove posted a picture of one of her bath towels soiled by the discoloured water.

he said she has to leave her taps running for 10 minutes for the discolouration to disappear.

“I saw the colour of the water on the floor of shower and it looked like I was washing off a fake tan,” she said.

“I wasn’t expecting it to stay on my skin and on my towel.”

Michele O’Meley also of Aberglasslyn, cancelled her son’s 16th birthday pool party because of the state of the water used to fill her pool.

She said she will complain to Hunter Water about the poor water quality in her area.

“Our pool guy charged us double the usual fee and we had to keep the water running and the pump running to clear it. It happened on a Saturday and we had a 16th birthday pool party for my son and his mates planned.

“It had to be cancelled and we had to do something away from the water because the water looked disgusting,” she said.

Hunter Water said a small number of customers had experienced discoloured water across some Maitland suburbs.

A company spokesperson said extreme heat had placed high demand on Hunter Water’s system in recent days and as a result of the sudden increase in the rate of water flow, it caused natural sediment in the bottom of the pipes to dislodge and temporarily change the appearance of tap water.

“Discoloured water is usually aesthetic, rather than a health issue, but people should avoid drinking their tap water if it is discoloured,” the spokesperson said.

“Customers can first try clearing their water by turning a tap on full for a few minutes to flush their plumbing.

Jan 24 2018 – Gillieston Heights (NSW) – Colour

Residents across six Maitland suburbs affected by dirty drinking water

Jan 24 2018: https://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/5185189/dirty-water-warning/

Maitland’s extreme heat is said to be the cause of dirty tap water affecting resident’s across six of the city’s suburbs.

Hunter Water has confirmed it has received calls from Rutherford, Telarah, Gillieston Heights and Greta residents about water soiling their washing and discolouring their drinking and bath water this week.

Aberglasslyn and Metford residents have also posted comments and photographs on Facebook about their poor water quality, one image showing of a glass of tap water which looked more like a urine specimen.

Aberglasslyn resident Anne-Maree Musgrove posted a picture of one of her bath towels soiled by the discoloured water.

he said she has to leave her taps running for 10 minutes for the discolouration to disappear.

“I saw the colour of the water on the floor of shower and it looked like I was washing off a fake tan,” she said.

“I wasn’t expecting it to stay on my skin and on my towel.”

Michele O’Meley also of Aberglasslyn, cancelled her son’s 16th birthday pool party because of the state of the water used to fill her pool.

She said she will complain to Hunter Water about the poor water quality in her area.

“Our pool guy charged us double the usual fee and we had to keep the water running and the pump running to clear it. It happened on a Saturday and we had a 16th birthday pool party for my son and his mates planned.

“It had to be cancelled and we had to do something away from the water because the water looked disgusting,” she said.

Hunter Water said a small number of customers had experienced discoloured water across some Maitland suburbs.

A company spokesperson said extreme heat had placed high demand on Hunter Water’s system in recent days and as a result of the sudden increase in the rate of water flow, it caused natural sediment in the bottom of the pipes to dislodge and temporarily change the appearance of tap water.

“Discoloured water is usually aesthetic, rather than a health issue, but people should avoid drinking their tap water if it is discoloured,” the spokesperson said.

“Customers can first try clearing their water by turning a tap on full for a few minutes to flush their plumbing.

Jan 24 2018 – Telerah (NSW) – Colour

Residents across six Maitland suburbs affected by dirty drinking water

Jan 24 2018: https://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/5185189/dirty-water-warning/

Maitland’s extreme heat is said to be the cause of dirty tap water affecting resident’s across six of the city’s suburbs.

Hunter Water has confirmed it has received calls from Rutherford, Telarah, Gillieston Heights and Greta residents about water soiling their washing and discolouring their drinking and bath water this week.

Aberglasslyn and Metford residents have also posted comments and photographs on Facebook about their poor water quality, one image showing of a glass of tap water which looked more like a urine specimen.

Aberglasslyn resident Anne-Maree Musgrove posted a picture of one of her bath towels soiled by the discoloured water.

he said she has to leave her taps running for 10 minutes for the discolouration to disappear.

“I saw the colour of the water on the floor of shower and it looked like I was washing off a fake tan,” she said.

“I wasn’t expecting it to stay on my skin and on my towel.”

Michele O’Meley also of Aberglasslyn, cancelled her son’s 16th birthday pool party because of the state of the water used to fill her pool.

She said she will complain to Hunter Water about the poor water quality in her area.

“Our pool guy charged us double the usual fee and we had to keep the water running and the pump running to clear it. It happened on a Saturday and we had a 16th birthday pool party for my son and his mates planned.

“It had to be cancelled and we had to do something away from the water because the water looked disgusting,” she said.

Hunter Water said a small number of customers had experienced discoloured water across some Maitland suburbs.

A company spokesperson said extreme heat had placed high demand on Hunter Water’s system in recent days and as a result of the sudden increase in the rate of water flow, it caused natural sediment in the bottom of the pipes to dislodge and temporarily change the appearance of tap water.

“Discoloured water is usually aesthetic, rather than a health issue, but people should avoid drinking their tap water if it is discoloured,” the spokesperson said.

“Customers can first try clearing their water by turning a tap on full for a few minutes to flush their plumbing.

2018 Jan 24 – Rutherford (NSW) – Colour

Residents across six Maitland suburbs affected by dirty drinking water

Jan 24 2018: https://www.maitlandmercury.com.au/story/5185189/dirty-water-warning/

Maitland’s extreme heat is said to be the cause of dirty tap water affecting resident’s across six of the city’s suburbs.

Hunter Water has confirmed it has received calls from Rutherford, Telarah, Gillieston Heights and Greta residents about water soiling their washing and discolouring their drinking and bath water this week.

Aberglasslyn and Metford residents have also posted comments and photographs on Facebook about their poor water quality, one image showing of a glass of tap water which looked more like a urine specimen.

Aberglasslyn resident Anne-Maree Musgrove posted a picture of one of her bath towels soiled by the discoloured water.

he said she has to leave her taps running for 10 minutes for the discolouration to disappear.

“I saw the colour of the water on the floor of shower and it looked like I was washing off a fake tan,” she said.

“I wasn’t expecting it to stay on my skin and on my towel.”

Michele O’Meley also of Aberglasslyn, cancelled her son’s 16th birthday pool party because of the state of the water used to fill her pool.

She said she will complain to Hunter Water about the poor water quality in her area.

“Our pool guy charged us double the usual fee and we had to keep the water running and the pump running to clear it. It happened on a Saturday and we had a 16th birthday pool party for my son and his mates planned.

“It had to be cancelled and we had to do something away from the water because the water looked disgusting,” she said.

Hunter Water said a small number of customers had experienced discoloured water across some Maitland suburbs.

A company spokesperson said extreme heat had placed high demand on Hunter Water’s system in recent days and as a result of the sudden increase in the rate of water flow, it caused natural sediment in the bottom of the pipes to dislodge and temporarily change the appearance of tap water.

“Discoloured water is usually aesthetic, rather than a health issue, but people should avoid drinking their tap water if it is discoloured,” the spokesperson said.

“Customers can first try clearing their water by turning a tap on full for a few minutes to flush their plumbing.

 

March 3 2020 – Muswellbrook (NSW) – Colour

Muswellbrook Shire town water is safe to drink

March 3 2020

https://www.2nm.com.au/news/local-news/454-drought/94528-muswellbrook-shire-town-water-is-safe-to-drink

Muswellbrook Shire town water is safe to drink.

Council released a statement on Tuesday afternoon reiterating that “despite current high levels of turbidity following recent rain events which has led to some discolouration, the town water is completely safe to drink.”

Council has also said they have been in consultation with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the NSW Department of Health and have modified their treatment process and are continuing to monitor water quality.

“While the water may have a different appearance from the drinking water usually produced at the Muswellbrook water treatment plant the water remains well within the criteria established under the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,”

“As turbidity levels in the river are reduced the drinking water will return to its normal colouration.”

“Council’s Water and Wastewater operations team tests the drinking water supply regularly throughout the day to ensure the town water is safe to drink and complies fully with Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Test results are also reported to the NSW Department of Health.”

“Council’s dedicated operations team has a proud history of providing high quality drinking water to Muswellbrook, Denman and Sandy Hollow and the rural community through bulk water supply.”

2019 March – Louth (NSW) – Blue Green Algae, Turbidity, Colour, Taste and Odour

Louth (NSW)

The Aussie towns without clean water to drink and shower in

March 26 2019: https://www.9news.com.au/national/weather-nsw-the-aussie-towns-without-clean-water-to-drink-and-shower-in/b93ed556-313b-4527-af83-a586f5f76b8a

When you turn on the tap in Louth what comes out looks like something you might see in a third world country, not rural NSW.
“The water is muddy and brown and it stinks. I usually describe it as smelling like rotten eggs,” Jasmine Kew, who lives and works at the pub in the tiny town, west of Bourne, told nine.com.au.
The water is drawn from a stagnant pool of the Darling River, which stopped flowing months ago, and where the government in December identified toxic levels of blue-green algae.
But with supplies from rainwater tanks dwindling, the town’s 35 or so residents have little choice but to shower in the stuff and wash their clothes with it.
“You just feel even dirtier than when you got in the shower. I have been getting rashes on me. I usually start itching when I get in the shower,” Ms Kew, 22, said.
“And I can’t wash my hair in the water because it is so dirty.”
At Louth’s pub, called Shindy’s Inn, bottled drinking water is trucked in and the precious rainwater is used to make ice, cook with and wash the beer glasses.
“The water is not safe to drink. I wouldn’t drink it. I tell people that stay here in our cabins not to drink it and I give them bottled water,” owner Kathy Barnes said.
Walkley Award winning photographer Jenny Evans travelled up from Sydney and stayed at Shindy’s Inn over summer in January.
“Unless you go there you can’t understand what these people are truly going through,” she said.
“My husband and I were in Louth for three or four days. When we arrived it was one of those days where it was 40-50 degrees and I said, ‘I’m just going to pop in and have a shower’. Everyone laughed and I didn’t know why.
“But then I turned the tap on and it was disgusting. It was this putrid brown, and boiling hot.”
“I’m a city girl born and bred. I had no idea. I was really shocked. Can you imagine someone from Sydney turning on a tap and the same disgusting brown water coming out, and then getting told it may also be toxic?”
In January, the mass fish kill at Menindee near Broken Hill, which saw up to a million fish die from an algal bloom, made international headlines and put a national spotlight on the state of the once mighty Darling River.
NSW is suffering from its worst drought on record, but the state and federal governments are also facing growing claims the environmental disaster is a result of man-made water mismanagement.
Louth is just one of the small towns and vast farming properties dotted along the Lower Darling River affected by toxic algae and chronic water shortages. Here locals say their basic needs for drinking and showering water are not being met.
About 100km downstream from Louth in Tilpa, the Darling River is also bone dry.
The town gets its water pumped from a weir 5km up the river where some dregs remain.
Without rain, Tilpa locals estimate they have just two to three weeks left before their taps run dry.
Tilpa Hotel manager Sharon Mahoney may soon have no pub to run.
“Once the water supply is gone it will be all over. You can’t run a pub without water because you have got no water to flush the toilets, no showers or anything.”
In the meantime, the town water in Tilpa, which is currently on an orange alert level for blue-green algae, is not fit for human consumption, Ms Mahoney said.
“We have got three lots of filters and an ultra-red violet light that the water goes through before it comes here but it’s still cloudy as it comes out. If you run a bath it’s brown,” she said.
“No, you couldn’t drink it, it has an odour to it. I won’t even brush my teeth in it. I brush my teeth with bottled water.”
A recent trip from Tilpa to Sydney, provided a stark and almost novel comparison, Ms Mahoney said.
“We have got a son in Sydney and we were just there and it was quite strange actually just drinking the water out of the tap. We found that really weird.”
Chrissy and Bill Ashby own a third-generation cattle property Trevallyn, between Menindee and Bourke.
The property sits on 65km of river frontage, which for the past four months has been on the highest level of algae alert after the water turned a fluorescent shade of green.
For months, the couple have been drinking bottled water bought by crowdfunders.
Unable to shower using river water, the Ashbys used rainwater supplies until they became critically low. They then bought a truckload of water, with the local Central Darling Shire Council contributing the cost of the freight.
Mr Ashby said the condition of the river on his property was soul destroying.
“The water has got a real smell to it at the minute. It’s just the algae dying and fish dying in it and all of that. It’s not good.”
Everyone in the area was suffering and the provision of safe drinking and showering water should be a basic right, he said.
“I call it an essential service really. What we live off here is the river. And if there is no water left here, or the water that is left in there is disgusting and you can’t use it, then there is something seriously wrong.”
Mr Ashby said he believed things really went downhill for the Murray Darling river system in 2012, when the state government changed the water-sharing plan to allow irrigators to pump even during low-flow periods.
“You need those medium-to-low flows to continue on down the river for stock, domestic townships and for the environment,” he said.
Over the weekend, anger over the government’s water management played out at the polls in the state election.
The vast sprawling seat of Barwon, which is almost the same size of Germany, had been held by the Nationals since 1950, but was one of four NSW seats lost by the Coalition on election day.
Roy Butler, from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, won the seat in a massive swing and has vowed to push for the implementation of a 10-point strategy for the Murray-Darling River he has developed.
Chrissy Ashby said the election result was a direct message to the government that it needed to do better.
“I think the National Party completely underestimated the minority people out here and the voice that we could have,” Mrs Ashby said.
“The fish kill in Menindee, although it was horrendous, definitely highlighted to Australia and the world what we have been trying to voice for quite some time.”

2007 – Curlewis (NSW) – Hardness, Total Dissolved Solids, Chloride, Sodium

Curlewis (NSW)

October 2007: The residents were complaining bitterly about their town bore water and the protesting Curlewis local postmistress had actually been featured on channel 9’s A Current Affair’s (television) programme.

Curlewis is supplied with water from groundwater aquifers’ located on the Liverpool Plains approx 8 km from town. The water is extremely hard and analysis of the supply indicates high levels of sodium, chloride, total dissolved solids and total hardness. The water supply was treated with Sodium Hypochlorite as a disinfectant.

https://calclear.com.au/wp-content/uploads/calclear_case_studies.pdf

Curlewis (NSW)  Hardness

GUIDELINE

“To minimise undesirable build‑up of scale in hot water systems, total hardness (as calcium
carbonate) in drinking water should not exceed 200 mg/L.

Hard water requires more soap than soft water to obtain a lather. It can also cause scale to form on hot water pipes and fittings. Hardness is caused primarily by the presence of calcium and magnesium ions, although other cations such as strontium, iron, manganese and barium can also contribute.”

Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011

Curlewis (NSW) Total Dissolved Solids

GUIDELINE

“No specific health guideline value is provided for total dissolved solids (TDS), as there are no
health effects directly attributable to TDS. However for good palatability total dissolved solids
in drinking water should not exceed 600 mg/L.

Total dissolved solids (TDS) consist of inorganic salts and small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water. Clay particles, colloidal iron and manganese oxides and silica, fine enough to pass through a 0.45 micron filter membrane can also contribute to total dissolved solids.

Total dissolved solids comprise: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, sulfate, bicarbonate, carbonate, silica, organic matter, fluoride, iron, manganese, nitrate, nitrite and phosphates…” Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011

Curlewis (NSW) – Chloride

“Chloride is present in natural waters from the dissolution of salt deposits, and contamination from effluent disposal. Sodium chloride is widely used in the production of industrial chemicals such as caustic soda, chlorine, and sodium chlorite and hypochlorite. Potassium chloride is used in the production of fertilisers.

The taste threshold of chloride in water is dependent on the associated cation but is in the range 200–300 mg/L. The chloride content of water can affect corrosion of pipes and fittings. It can also affect the solubility of metal ions.

In surface water, the concentration of chloride is usually less than 100 mg/L and frequently below 10 mg/L. Groundwater can have higher concentrations, particularly if there is salt water intrusion.

Based on aesthetic considerations, the chloride concentration in drinking water should not exceed 250 mg/L.

No health-based guideline value is proposed for chloride.” 2011 Australian Drinking Water Guidelines

Curlewis (NSW) – Sodium

“Based on aesthetic considerations (taste), the concentration of sodium in drinking water
should not exceed 180 mg/L….The sodium ion is widespread in water due to the high solubility of sodium salts and the abundance of mineral deposits. Near coastal areas, windborne sea spray can make an important contribution either by fallout onto land surfaces where it can drain to drinking water sources, or from washout by rain. Apart from saline intrusion and natural contamination, water treatment chemicals, domestic water softeners and
sewage effluent can contribute to the sodium content of drinking water.” ADWG 2011

16/3/21 – Kenebri (NSW) – Sodium

Kenebri (New South Wales) – Sodium

16/3/21: Kenebri (NSW) Sodium 175mg/L (max)

“Based on aesthetic considerations (taste), the concentration of sodium in drinking water
should not exceed 180 mg/L….The sodium ion is widespread in water due to the high solubility of sodium salts and the abundance of mineral deposits. Near coastal areas, windborne sea spray can make an important contribution either by fallout onto land surfaces where it can drain to drinking water sources, or from washout by rain. Apart from saline intrusion and natural contamination, water treatment chemicals, domestic water softeners and
sewage effluent can contribute to the sodium content of drinking water.” ADWG 2011

2018/2022: Baradine (NSW) – E.coli, Aluminium, Iron

22/2/22: Baradine (NSW) – E.coli.
E.coli: 25 MPN/100mL
E.coli

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

Baradine (NSW) – Iron

21/5/18: Baradine (NSW) – Iron 0.6mg/L

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste),
the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

Baradine (NSW) – Aluminium

21/5/18: Baradine (NSW) – Aluminium 1.07mg/L

According to the ADWG, no health guideline has been adopted for Aluminium, but that the issue is still open to review. Aluminium can come from natural geological sources or from the use of aluminium salts as coagulants in water treatment plants. According to the ADWG “A well-operated water filtration plant (even using aluminium as a flocculant) can achieve aluminium concentrations in the finished water of less than 0.1 mg/L.

The most common form of aluminium in water treatment plants is Aluminium Sulfate (Alum). Alum can be supplied as a bulk liquid or in granular form. It is used at water treatment plants as a coagulant to remove turbidity, microorganisms, organic matter and inorganic chemicals. If water is particularly dirty an Alum dose of as high as 500mg/L could occur. There is also concern that other metals may also exist in refined alum.

While the ADWG mentions that there is considerable evidence that Aluminium is neurotoxic and can pass the gut barrier to accumulate in the blood, leading to a condition called encephalopathy (dialysis dementia) and that Aluminium has been associated with Parkinsonism dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the NHMRC, whilst also acknowledging studies which have linked Aluminium with Alzheimer disease, has not granted Aluminium a NOEL (No Observable Effect Level) due to insufficient and contradictory data. Without a NOEL, a health guideline cannot be established. The NHMRC has also stated that if new information comes to hand, a health guideline may be established in the future.

In communication with Aluminium expert Dr Chris Exley (Professor in Bioinorganic Chemistry
The Birchall Centre, Lennard-Jones Laboratories, Keele University, Staffordshire UK) in March 2013 regarding high levels of Aluminium detected in the South Western Victorian town of Hamilton
“It is my opinion that any value above 0.5 mg/L is totally unacceptable and a potential health risk. Where such values are maintained over days, weeks or even months, as indeed is indicated by the data you sent to me, these represent a significant health risk to all consumers. While consumers may not experience any short term health effects the result of longer term exposure to elevated levels of aluminium in potable waters may be a significant increase in the body burden of aluminium in these individuals. This artificially increased body burden will not return to ‘normal’ levels when the Al content of the potable water returns to normal but will act as a new platform level from which the Al body burden will continue to increase with age.

May 2021: Wagga Wagga (NSW) – Taste and Odour

Riverina Water report finds Geosmin and MIB responsible for taste issues

https://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/7270834/chemicals-causing-funny-tasting-tap-water-in-wagga/

May 27 2021

Chemicals in the Murrumbidgee River are responsible for a funny taste and smell in Wagga tap water, according to a report from Riverina Water.

Riverina Water engineering director Bede Spannagle said they detected traces of the compounds Geosmin and 2-Methylisoborneol, but reassured residents that neither was dangerous to human health.

However, Mr Spannagle said the chemical compounds could cause an earthy flavour and odour, especially during the warmer summer months.

“We had some complaints about the water and we did our own investigation, and we also asked WaterNSW to do an investigation into the water issue,” Mr Spannagle said.

“It’s only surface water, about 30 per cent of our supply. It’ll be at certain times of the year, normally when it’s hotter when that grows in the water. Winter or cold or raining dilutes it in the source, so you won’t taste it.”

2013 July: Bathurst (NSW) Taste, Odour, Filtration

UPDATED: Tap water is now safe to drink

July 1 2013: https://www.westernadvocate.com.au/story/1603983/updated-tap-water-is-now-safe-to-drink/

UPDATE: Bathurst Regional Council have lifted the Boil Water Alert issued last Friday, after tests revealed that water quality was within safe drinking water guidelines.

This means there is no longer a need for residents on the town water network to use boiled water for general consumption.

Testing by Council staff overnight on Friday and Saturday showed water quality at all affected reservoirs around the network was within safe drinking water guidelines.

These results have now been verified by independent laboratory testing approved by the NSW Department of Health.

Council wishes to assure residents that water quality in the water supply system will continue to be closely monitored.

Bathurst Regional Council General manager David Sherley thanked local residents for their patience.

“We understand this issue caused a considerable disruption to some residents and we sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.

“While there has been some genuine concern in the community, at no time have tests over the last few days showed a serious level of impact on the quality of the water in the Bathurst town network.”


JUNE 29: BATHURST Regional Council is continuing to warn residents not to drink any tap water until further notice.

Council experienced a problem at its water treatment plant on Thursday night where due to a failure in an automatic alarm system the water was not adequatley filtered.

Council is awaiting water test results which it hopes will be available in the next 24 hours.

Until the results are all clear residents are advised as a precaution to use cooled boiled or bottled water.

General Manager of Bathurst Base Hospital David Wright said yesterday that members of the public experiencing symptoms that could be related to the boiled water alert should contact their GP.

He said if a person’s symptoms were severe they should go to the hospital.

Earlier this afternoon a Bathurst Base Hospital spokesperson said the hospital had seen no presentations of symptoms that would be related to drinking contaminated water.


JUNE 28: BATHURST Regional Council is warning residents not to drink any tap water until further notice.

Council experienced a problem at its water treatment plant on Thursday night where due to a failure in an automatic alarm system the water was not adequatley filtered.

You may drink the water if it has been continuously boiled for at least one minute. Water should then be allowed to cool and stored in a clean container with a lid and refrigerated.

Bathurst Regional Council General Manager David Sherley assures residents Council is working to alleviate the problem.

“When the issue was discovered at around 7am this morning, Council staff immediately began adding extra chlorine to the network which is working to alleviate the problem.

“In the meantime residents may see some discoloured water or notice a slight odour from their taps.

“In line with recommendations from the NSW Department of Health, precautions should be taken until further notice.

“Council does take this issue very seriously and has issued the boiled water message accordingly as a precautionary measure.

“It is hoped the problem will be rectified within the next 48 hours but will advise residents through local media, Council’s website and Facebook pages as soon as we have the all clear.”

 

2022 March: Cobar Park (NSW) – Turbidity

Water treatment problems at Farmers Creek Supply System causes bigger issues

March 8 2022: https://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/7648730/lithgow-residents-to-boil-water-before-consuming-it/

Lithgow City Council is asking Lithgow residents to boil their water before drinking or food preparation.

Recent conditions, including excessive rainfall and highly turbid water in the catchment, have caused problems with water treatment making drinking water in the Farmers Creek supply system unsafe.

South Bowenfels, Bowenfels, Littleton, South Littleton, McKellars Park, Oakey Park, Sheedys Gully, Cobar Park, Morts Estate, Vale of Clwydd and Hermitage Flat

Customers in these suburbs are advised to boil water prior to use for drinking or food preparation until they are notified that this measure is no longer required.

2022 March: Sheedys Gully (NSW) – Turbidity

Water treatment problems at Farmers Creek Supply System causes bigger issues

March 8 2022: https://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/7648730/lithgow-residents-to-boil-water-before-consuming-it/

Lithgow City Council is asking Lithgow residents to boil their water before drinking or food preparation.

Recent conditions, including excessive rainfall and highly turbid water in the catchment, have caused problems with water treatment making drinking water in the Farmers Creek supply system unsafe.

South Bowenfels, Bowenfels, Littleton, South Littleton, McKellars Park, Oakey Park, Sheedys Gully, Cobar Park, Morts Estate, Vale of Clwydd and Hermitage Flat

Customers in these suburbs are advised to boil water prior to use for drinking or food preparation until they are notified that this measure is no longer required.

2022 March: Oakey Park (NSW) – Turbidity

Water treatment problems at Farmers Creek Supply System causes bigger issues

March 8 2022: https://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/7648730/lithgow-residents-to-boil-water-before-consuming-it/

Lithgow City Council is asking Lithgow residents to boil their water before drinking or food preparation.

Recent conditions, including excessive rainfall and highly turbid water in the catchment, have caused problems with water treatment making drinking water in the Farmers Creek supply system unsafe.

South Bowenfels, Bowenfels, Littleton, South Littleton, McKellars Park, Oakey Park, Sheedys Gully, Cobar Park, Morts Estate, Vale of Clwydd and Hermitage Flat

Customers in these suburbs are advised to boil water prior to use for drinking or food preparation until they are notified that this measure is no longer required.

2022 March: McKellars Park (NSW) – Turbidity

Water treatment problems at Farmers Creek Supply System causes bigger issues

March 8 2022: https://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/7648730/lithgow-residents-to-boil-water-before-consuming-it/

Lithgow City Council is asking Lithgow residents to boil their water before drinking or food preparation.

Recent conditions, including excessive rainfall and highly turbid water in the catchment, have caused problems with water treatment making drinking water in the Farmers Creek supply system unsafe.

South Bowenfels, Bowenfels, Littleton, South Littleton, McKellars Park, Oakey Park, Sheedys Gully, Cobar Park, Morts Estate, Vale of Clwydd and Hermitage Flat

Customers in these suburbs are advised to boil water prior to use for drinking or food preparation until they are notified that this measure is no longer required.

2022 March: Littleton (NSW) – Turbidity

Water treatment problems at Farmers Creek Supply System causes bigger issues

March 8 2022: https://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/7648730/lithgow-residents-to-boil-water-before-consuming-it/

Lithgow City Council is asking Lithgow residents to boil their water before drinking or food preparation.

Recent conditions, including excessive rainfall and highly turbid water in the catchment, have caused problems with water treatment making drinking water in the Farmers Creek supply system unsafe.

South Bowenfels, Bowenfels, Littleton, South Littleton, McKellars Park, Oakey Park, Sheedys Gully, Cobar Park, Morts Estate, Vale of Clwydd and Hermitage Flat

Customers in these suburbs are advised to boil water prior to use for drinking or food preparation until they are notified that this measure is no longer required.

2022 March: Bowenfels (NSW) Turbidity

Water treatment problems at Farmers Creek Supply System causes bigger issues

March 8 2022: https://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/7648730/lithgow-residents-to-boil-water-before-consuming-it/

Lithgow City Council is asking Lithgow residents to boil their water before drinking or food preparation.

Recent conditions, including excessive rainfall and highly turbid water in the catchment, have caused problems with water treatment making drinking water in the Farmers Creek supply system unsafe.

South Bowenfels, Bowenfels, Littleton, South Littleton, McKellars Park, Oakey Park, Sheedys Gully, Cobar Park, Morts Estate, Vale of Clwydd and Hermitage Flat

Customers in these suburbs are advised to boil water prior to use for drinking or food preparation until they are notified that this measure is no longer required.

2022 March: South Bowenfels (NSW) – Turbidity

Water treatment problems at Farmers Creek Supply System causes bigger issues

March 8 2022: https://www.lithgowmercury.com.au/story/7648730/lithgow-residents-to-boil-water-before-consuming-it/

Lithgow City Council is asking Lithgow residents to boil their water before drinking or food preparation.

Recent conditions, including excessive rainfall and highly turbid water in the catchment, have caused problems with water treatment making drinking water in the Farmers Creek supply system unsafe.

South Bowenfels, Bowenfels, Littleton, South Littleton, McKellars Park, Oakey Park, Sheedys Gully, Cobar Park, Morts Estate, Vale of Clwydd and Hermitage Flat

Customers in these suburbs are advised to boil water prior to use for drinking or food preparation until they are notified that this measure is no longer required.

2021 February – Parkes (NSW) Taste and Odour

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

18 February 2021

https://www.parkeschampionpost.com.au/story/7131803/towns-water-passes-testing-after-residents-report-change-in-odour-and-taste/

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.

2022 January: Wallaga Lakes (NSW) – Turbidity

Bega Valley Shire Council issues boil-water notice from Brogo to Bermagui

11 Jan 22 (aboutregional.com.au)

The combination of heavy rainfall and summer visitors to southeast NSW has led to Bega Valley Shire Council issuing a boil-water notice for users connected to the Brogo-Bermagui water supply.

Boiling water before use for drinking, food preparation, teeth cleaning and ice-making is now considered essential for water users in Quaama, Cobargo, Bermagui, Beauty Point, Fairhaven, Wallaga Lake, Wallaga Lake Heights, Wallaga Lake Koori Village and Akolele.

Water issues are not new to Bega Valley communities, but they have been somewhat mitigated in recent times by the temporary water treatment facility in Brogo.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s water and sewer services manager, Chris Best, said the Brogo facility is struggling to manage the current increase in demand, and his team has been “working around the clock” since heavy rain on Thursday, 6 January, 2022.

“With more visitors in the area during the summer break, it has reached the point where the treatment plant can no longer cope with the higher demand,” he said.

“The temporary plant has reduced the need for boil-water notices since introducing flocculation technology, but even this has its limits which is why we are in the process of constructing a permanent treatment and filtration plant at the same site.”

Mr Best said that when the permanent facility is up and running – expected in late 2022 – the Brogo-Bermagui water supply will no longer require boiling after heavy rain events.

“We have previously avoided boil-water notices by carting water from our southern supply, however given the increase in usage at this time of year, this is currently not possible,” he said.

“Our water team will continue with a regular program of testing water from the Brogo River source, which is known for high turbidity levels, particularly following the Black Summer bushfires which heavily impacted the catchment.”

All other water supply in the Bega Valley Shire is currently unaffected.

2022 January: Akolele (NSW) – Turbidity

Bega Valley Shire Council issues boil-water notice from Brogo to Bermagui

11 Jan 22 (aboutregional.com.au)

The combination of heavy rainfall and summer visitors to southeast NSW has led to Bega Valley Shire Council issuing a boil-water notice for users connected to the Brogo-Bermagui water supply.

Boiling water before use for drinking, food preparation, teeth cleaning and ice-making is now considered essential for water users in Quaama, Cobargo, Bermagui, Beauty Point, Fairhaven, Wallaga Lake, Wallaga Lake Heights, Wallaga Lake Koori Village and Akolele.

Water issues are not new to Bega Valley communities, but they have been somewhat mitigated in recent times by the temporary water treatment facility in Brogo.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s water and sewer services manager, Chris Best, said the Brogo facility is struggling to manage the current increase in demand, and his team has been “working around the clock” since heavy rain on Thursday, 6 January, 2022.

“With more visitors in the area during the summer break, it has reached the point where the treatment plant can no longer cope with the higher demand,” he said.

“The temporary plant has reduced the need for boil-water notices since introducing flocculation technology, but even this has its limits which is why we are in the process of constructing a permanent treatment and filtration plant at the same site.”

Mr Best said that when the permanent facility is up and running – expected in late 2022 – the Brogo-Bermagui water supply will no longer require boiling after heavy rain events.

“We have previously avoided boil-water notices by carting water from our southern supply, however given the increase in usage at this time of year, this is currently not possible,” he said.

“Our water team will continue with a regular program of testing water from the Brogo River source, which is known for high turbidity levels, particularly following the Black Summer bushfires which heavily impacted the catchment.”

All other water supply in the Bega Valley Shire is currently unaffected.

2022 January: Fairhaven (NSW). Turbidity

Bega Valley Shire Council issues boil-water notice from Brogo to Bermagui

11 Jan 22 (aboutregional.com.au)

The combination of heavy rainfall and summer visitors to southeast NSW has led to Bega Valley Shire Council issuing a boil-water notice for users connected to the Brogo-Bermagui water supply.

Boiling water before use for drinking, food preparation, teeth cleaning and ice-making is now considered essential for water users in Quaama, Cobargo, Bermagui, Beauty Point, Fairhaven, Wallaga Lake, Wallaga Lake Heights, Wallaga Lake Koori Village and Akolele.

Water issues are not new to Bega Valley communities, but they have been somewhat mitigated in recent times by the temporary water treatment facility in Brogo.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s water and sewer services manager, Chris Best, said the Brogo facility is struggling to manage the current increase in demand, and his team has been “working around the clock” since heavy rain on Thursday, 6 January, 2022.

“With more visitors in the area during the summer break, it has reached the point where the treatment plant can no longer cope with the higher demand,” he said.

“The temporary plant has reduced the need for boil-water notices since introducing flocculation technology, but even this has its limits which is why we are in the process of constructing a permanent treatment and filtration plant at the same site.”

Mr Best said that when the permanent facility is up and running – expected in late 2022 – the Brogo-Bermagui water supply will no longer require boiling after heavy rain events.

“We have previously avoided boil-water notices by carting water from our southern supply, however given the increase in usage at this time of year, this is currently not possible,” he said.

“Our water team will continue with a regular program of testing water from the Brogo River source, which is known for high turbidity levels, particularly following the Black Summer bushfires which heavily impacted the catchment.”

All other water supply in the Bega Valley Shire is currently unaffected.

2022 March: Clandulla (NSW). Boil Water Alert Lifted

Mid-Western Regional Council lift boil water alert after days of sampling

March 17 2022

https://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/7653920/council-lift-drinking-water-alert-for-mid-western-townships/

Update:

A Boil Water Alert for Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla has been lifted after testing confirmed the water supply is safe to drink.

The townships were placed on a Boil Water Alert on Thursday, March 10 following a storm event that increased turbidity of water entering the Rylstone Water Treatment Plant.

Council has undertaken daily sampling since the alert was put into place and results from an external lab confirm the water supply now meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

In consultation with NSW Health, Council has lifted the Boil Water Alert and will continue to monitor the system.

This means residents in Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla can safely consume water direct from their taps for drinking and cooking without having to boil it first.

Council would like to thank residents for their patience and co-operation.

Recent storms have caused problems with water treatment at the Rylstone Water Treatment Plan making drinking water in the Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla areas unsafe.

March 2022: Charbon (NSW). Boil Water Alert Lifted

Mid-Western Regional Council lift boil water alert after days of sampling

March 17 2022

https://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/7653920/council-lift-drinking-water-alert-for-mid-western-townships/

Update:

A Boil Water Alert for Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla has been lifted after testing confirmed the water supply is safe to drink.

The townships were placed on a Boil Water Alert on Thursday, March 10 following a storm event that increased turbidity of water entering the Rylstone Water Treatment Plant.

Council has undertaken daily sampling since the alert was put into place and results from an external lab confirm the water supply now meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

In consultation with NSW Health, Council has lifted the Boil Water Alert and will continue to monitor the system.

This means residents in Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla can safely consume water direct from their taps for drinking and cooking without having to boil it first.

Council would like to thank residents for their patience and co-operation.

Recent storms have caused problems with water treatment at the Rylstone Water Treatment Plan making drinking water in the Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla areas unsafe.

March 2022: Kandos (NSW). Boil Water Alert Lifted

Mid-Western Regional Council lift boil water alert after days of sampling

March 17 2022

https://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/7653920/council-lift-drinking-water-alert-for-mid-western-townships/

Update:

A Boil Water Alert for Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla has been lifted after testing confirmed the water supply is safe to drink.

The townships were placed on a Boil Water Alert on Thursday, March 10 following a storm event that increased turbidity of water entering the Rylstone Water Treatment Plant.

Council has undertaken daily sampling since the alert was put into place and results from an external lab confirm the water supply now meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

In consultation with NSW Health, Council has lifted the Boil Water Alert and will continue to monitor the system.

This means residents in Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla can safely consume water direct from their taps for drinking and cooking without having to boil it first.

Council would like to thank residents for their patience and co-operation.

Recent storms have caused problems with water treatment at the Rylstone Water Treatment Plan making drinking water in the Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla areas unsafe.

March 17 2022: Rylstone (NSW) Boil Water Alert Lifted

Mid-Western Regional Council lift boil water alert after days of sampling

March 17 2022

https://www.mudgeeguardian.com.au/story/7653920/council-lift-drinking-water-alert-for-mid-western-townships/

Update:

A Boil Water Alert for Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla has been lifted after testing confirmed the water supply is safe to drink.

The townships were placed on a Boil Water Alert on Thursday, March 10 following a storm event that increased turbidity of water entering the Rylstone Water Treatment Plant.

Council has undertaken daily sampling since the alert was put into place and results from an external lab confirm the water supply now meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

In consultation with NSW Health, Council has lifted the Boil Water Alert and will continue to monitor the system.

This means residents in Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla can safely consume water direct from their taps for drinking and cooking without having to boil it first.

Council would like to thank residents for their patience and co-operation.

Recent storms have caused problems with water treatment at the Rylstone Water Treatment Plan making drinking water in the Rylstone, Kandos, Charbon and Clandulla areas unsafe.

 

Feb 7 2022: Carrathool (NSW). Bottled Water for Schools

Almost 50 NSW schools relying on bottled drinking water, education department confirms

Feb 7 2022
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-07/bottled-water-deliveries-for-almost-50-nsw-public-schools/100798008

Nearly 50 public schools in New South Wales are relying on deliveries of bottled water, it has been revealed.

The issue was raised by NSW Labor during budget estimates late last year when the Department of Education provided a list of 46 schools that could not access safe drinking water via other sources.

The list included schools in the New England, Central West, Riverina, Coffs Harbour and Newcastle regions.

The Department of Education confirmed there were 47 schools — one more than was listed in the report — requiring bottled water.

Opposition Education spokeswoman Prue Car said the situation was “concerning”.

“We’ve got more than 40 schools across the state that are relying on bottled water because they don’t have permanent access to safe drinking water,” she said.

“While we accept there are water access challenges, particularly across regional NSW, we are worried this could have impacts on children.”

Limited options

The principal of Carrathool Public School in the western Riverina, Mary-Ann Headon, said large bottles of water were delivered more than 200 kilometres from Wagga Wagga to the school, which had five students.

“This started before I arrived here five years ago, but the department deemed that the water, the potable water that comes from a water tank or some other source that’s not filtered, may not be suitable for drinking,” she said.

“There is bore water available, but some also buy the bottled water, particularly if they don’t like the taste of the bore water.”

Ms Headon said the school had a rainwater tank, but the education department deemed it, and the bore water supply, unsuitable for students to drink.

“I would not particularly like to drink the rainwater around here, simply because of the amount of pollutants that are sprayed,” she said.

“We have a safe water supply as it is, so changing back to the rainwater seems a bit unnecessary.”

Ms Headon said the process of getting water delivered was “really quite easy from our end”.

“I think the education department is doing a really good job providing us a safe water source,” she said.

“I know [council staff] monitor the water quality, but for a town of our size I don’t think it’s overly feasible getting water from the river and treating that.”

Basic amenity’

Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW Riverina representative Saba Nabi said she was “surprised” by the situation.

“In this day and age, I feel that all schools in NSW should have access to potable water irrespective of their location,” she said.

“I mean, this is a basic amenity and I understand and I feel for the schools and the kids.

“I really wish that the department [would come] up with a very permanent solution to something very alarming.”

A NSW Department of Education spokesperson said in some schools access to potable water “was not possible”.

“In these instances the department supplies them with access to safe drinking water,” they said.

“The department currently supplies 47 NSW public schools with bottled water.

“Bottled water may be supplied at schools based on individual circumstances.

March 2022: Dunbible (NSW). Boil Water Alert

NSW residents urged to boil tap water as expert warns catastrophic floods could lead to raw sewage contamination

March 2 2022: https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/nsw-residents-urged-to-boil-tap-water-as-expert-warns-catastrophic-floods-could-lead-to-raw-sewage-contamination/news-story/c8b18d1b00400784edcc81a9645e0a56

New South Wales residents have been urged to boil their tap water as wild weather and heavy rain inundate the state, contaminating flood water with raw sewage.

NSW Health is urging residents in parts of the state to avoid drinking unboiled tap water as wild weather and flash flooding continues across Australia’s east coast.

Record levels of rain have inundated parts of Queensland and NSW as heavy downpours engulf the east coast – flooding homes, breaking sewage systems and leaving cars submerged.

A boil water alert has been issued for residents in Richmond Valley Council (Casino and surrounds) and Tweed Shire council (Uki and South Murwillumbah/Dunbible).

Director of the Australian Graduate School of Engineering at UNSW Professor Stuart Khan says floodwaters inundating these areas are “almost always” highly contaminated.

“Floodwaters contain lots of organic carbon and sediment, which is picked up from erosion of riverbanks and other overland flow,” he told SkyNews.com.au.

“In urban areas, floods fill sewers and cause them to overflow, so flood waters also quickly become contaminated with raw sewage.

“When this occurs, bacteria and viruses from sewage create public health risks for anyone who comes into contact with untreated flood waters.”

Prof Khan says anyone who comes into contact with untreated flood waters is at risk of contracting illnesses including gastro, skin infections and ear infections.

The northern NSW town of Mullumbimby is experiencing a water shortage after its water treatment plant was knocked out by catastrophic floods.

The Byron Shire Council says they are working to tank fresh water supplies into the town but encourages residents to “heed to water restrictions”.

Prof Khan says the demand for clean water can be “very high” as parts of the state clean up following the deluge.

“When reduced water supply occurs at the same time as increased water demand, this exacerbates the risk of shortages,” he said.

“Any drinking water supply that significantly loses pressure during a flood is at risk of contamination by floodwaters.

“If there is concern that this may have occurred, people should avoid drinking tap water unless they are able to boil it first.”

NSW Health says water used for drinking or food preparation should be brought to a rolling boil and allowed to cool completely before refrigerating in a clean container with a lid.

Bottled water or cool boiled water should be used for drinking, washing uncooked food (salad, fruit), making ice, cleaning teeth, gargling and for pet’s drinking water.

Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher and children should take bottled water or cool boiled water to school.

2022: South Murwillumbah (NSW). Boil Water Alert and Boil Water Alert Lifted

15 Dec 2022 Murwillumbah

https://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/council/news-updates/latest-news/media-releases/1378966-boil-water-alert-lifted-for-bray-park-affected-parts-of-murwillumbah-and-out-to-crystal-creek

Boil Water Alert Lifted for Bray Park, affected parts of Murwillumbah and out to Crystal Creek

After consulting NSW Health, Tweed Shire Council advises all residents in Bray Park, Murwillumbah and out to Crystal Creek that tap water is now safe to drink.

This applies immediately.

Testing confirms the water supply system has been filled with freshly treated water that is safe.

There is no longer a public health concern over the quality of drinking water, and it is now considered safe for all typical uses including drinking, preparing food and beverages, personal washing, dishwashing, laundry purposes and flushing toilets.

Council has worked closely with NSW Health in the past 48 hours to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

To protect the health of the community, our crews have emptied the Glencoe Reservoir at North Arm, treated the reservoir with chlorine and refilled the tank. They have also flushed the watermains in the area to reintroduce safe, clean water to the local water supply system.

Scientists from the NATA-accredited Tweed Laboratory Centre have tested the tap water at 6 sites and have confirmed it meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and is safe to drink.

Before drinking water, residents should flush out affected water from their pipes with running water for 2 to 3 minutes, including the tap most distant from their water meter, which is usually in backyards.

NSW residents urged to boil tap water as expert warns catastrophic floods could lead to raw sewage contamination

March 2 2022: https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/nsw-residents-urged-to-boil-tap-water-as-expert-warns-catastrophic-floods-could-lead-to-raw-sewage-contamination/news-story/c8b18d1b00400784edcc81a9645e0a56

New South Wales residents have been urged to boil their tap water as wild weather and heavy rain inundate the state, contaminating flood water with raw sewage.

NSW Health is urging residents in parts of the state to avoid drinking unboiled tap water as wild weather and flash flooding continues across Australia’s east coast.

Record levels of rain have inundated parts of Queensland and NSW as heavy downpours engulf the east coast – flooding homes, breaking sewage systems and leaving cars submerged.

A boil water alert has been issued for residents in Richmond Valley Council (Casino and surrounds) and Tweed Shire council (Uki and South Murwillumbah/Dunbible).

Director of the Australian Graduate School of Engineering at UNSW Professor Stuart Khan says floodwaters inundating these areas are “almost always” highly contaminated.

“Floodwaters contain lots of organic carbon and sediment, which is picked up from erosion of riverbanks and other overland flow,” he told SkyNews.com.au.

“In urban areas, floods fill sewers and cause them to overflow, so flood waters also quickly become contaminated with raw sewage.

“When this occurs, bacteria and viruses from sewage create public health risks for anyone who comes into contact with untreated flood waters.”

Prof Khan says anyone who comes into contact with untreated flood waters is at risk of contracting illnesses including gastro, skin infections and ear infections.

The northern NSW town of Mullumbimby is experiencing a water shortage after its water treatment plant was knocked out by catastrophic floods.

The Byron Shire Council says they are working to tank fresh water supplies into the town but encourages residents to “heed to water restrictions”.

Prof Khan says the demand for clean water can be “very high” as parts of the state clean up following the deluge.

“When reduced water supply occurs at the same time as increased water demand, this exacerbates the risk of shortages,” he said.

“Any drinking water supply that significantly loses pressure during a flood is at risk of contamination by floodwaters.

“If there is concern that this may have occurred, people should avoid drinking tap water unless they are able to boil it first.”

NSW Health says water used for drinking or food preparation should be brought to a rolling boil and allowed to cool completely before refrigerating in a clean container with a lid.

Bottled water or cool boiled water should be used for drinking, washing uncooked food (salad, fruit), making ice, cleaning teeth, gargling and for pet’s drinking water.

Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher and children should take bottled water or cool boiled water to school.

2022 January: Marulan (New South Wales). Taste and Odour, Colour

Marulan presses Goulburn Mulwaree Council to fix water ‘woes’

January 14 2022. https://www.goulburnpost.com.au/story/7579811/dirty-smelly-water-is-making-people-sick-residents-complain/

A Marulan resident is paying up to $50 a week on drinking water to replace what she claims is dirty and smelly flow through household taps.

Kelly Vinken has joined a growing chorus of people complaining about the town’s ‘dirty tap water.’ The single mother of two says more urgent action is needed to fix the problem.

“I’ve been here in Marulan for three years and it’s been bad the whole time,” she said.

“Some days are worse than others. If we have a storm it has a really strong smell like pond water. It’s very distinct, like a mould smell.”

The single mother of two children, aged 11 and 12, said she was spending $30 to $50 a week on water for drinking and cooking from the local supermarket.

“When I first moved here, I drank the tap water and didn’t understand why I felt sick. Then I stopped and felt better straight away.”

People also felt “dirty” after bathing in it and yellow stains were left on baths and showers, she claimed.

However the council’s utilities director, Marina Hollands, said the resource met all Australian drinking water standards for health.

“NSW Health also receives samples from the plant that they analyse independently that meet the Australian drinking water requirements,” she said.

Ms Vinken conceded that some residents did drink the water but it made her family sick. Many new residents were unhappy with the quality and had aired their grievances on social media. She did not understand why the council couldn’t grant rebates on water rates.

“Quite a few people are upset about it, especially those moving into the area who have kids,” she said.

“We all understand about hard water but you can’t drink it. Buying that much water on a single wage is difficult.

“…It’s a basic human right to have decent drinking water, especially in a hot climate.”

Ms Vinken, like others, has taken the matter up with the council. Cr Bob Kirk advised her of plans for an $8 million upgrade of the town’s water treatment plant, due for completion by December, 2023.

He and general manager Warwick Bennett updated the community on this and the $12 million sewage treatment plant upgrade at a Marulan Chamber of Commerce organised meeting on December 18. Some 120 people attended.

Cr Kirk told The Post the water quality issues were not new but there had been renewed criticism and feedback in recent time.

“I thought the message was getting through. We’ve had a lot of information out there,” he said.

Cr Kirk said as staff had stood by the water’s drinking standard, any rebate on charges would require deep consideration. He believed newer residents were the people asking for this.

Mrs Hollands told The Post that residents should contact the council if they had water quality issues.

“We need to know about specific problems in order to address them,” she said in a statement.

“We understand that Marulan residents are frustrated with the current situation, however the council is working towards a long term, robust solution that will deal with the range of issues that could be expected.

“The design works take time and money that we want to have completed correctly. While the approval processes take time, this is important to ensure we can use the experience of government agencies to provide a robust treatment process.”

The town’s water is drawn from a combination of bores and the Wollondiily River. Heavy rainfall has previously discoloured the water and prompted the council to draw mostly from the river.

Mrs Hollands said consultants were refining the concept for the water treatment plant’s upgrade. Each plant was different and had to be specifically designed based on the raw water source. Marulan’s would require a “multi-process approach.”

The council is working through the concept with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and NSW Health. Design will commence upon approval.

“Concurrently, we are looking at short-term components for the upgrade that can be implemented quicker to further enhance the current process and contribute to the plant’s overall upgrade. This is also in progress,” Mrs Hollands said.

“We continue to actively manage the system to optimise the current plant’s performance.”

She rejected the need for refunds or rebates, saying water charges were based on access and usage. On the latter, people only paid for the amount they used.

“The council requires the income generated through water charges to pay for operation of the Marulan water treatment and distribution system to provide water for residents,” she said.

Chamber goes in to bat

Marulan Chamber of Commerce vice-president David Humphreys said the water quality issues stretched back many years to Mulwaree Shire Council days (pre 2004).

“The filtration system has been let go to the end of it’s life and now it’s causing problems,” he said.

“People have been waiting a hell of a long time for a solution to the town’s water and sewer. There will be at least another 50 to 60 homes built in the next 12 to 18 months, most of which will come with families that expect reasonable water quality.”

Mr Humphreys argued one solution was to connect the town with the Highland Source pipeline, which ran from Bowral to Goulburn. This would ultimately save money as the infrastructure required a certain level of flow for its maintenance, he said. Further, it would meet the needs of what the council said was the fastest growing part of the LGA.

Newly elected councillor, Steve Ruddell said he’d spoken to residents about the water and sewer issues before the election.

“I’d like to see it as a priority,” he said.

“In the 21st century we shouldn’t be seeing creamy, black water coming from the taps.”

Meantime, design is also underway on an upgraded sewer treatment plant. The council was working with government agencies to develop a treatment and disposal process for Marulan’s effluent for the next 30 years.

 

2020 Sep: Mumbil (NSW) – Hardness

Dubbo Regional Council surveys residents on water quality, satisfaction

https://www.dailyliberal.com.au/story/6927615/this-is-what-dubbo-residents-think-about-our-water-quality/

Sep 16 2020

Dubbo Regional Council should be doing more to encourage water conservation, according to almost two-thirds of the respondants of a recent survey.

In July and August, council surveyed more than 700 people in the local government area to ask about their satisfaction with their water and sewerage service.

The level of satisfaction with response times to water supply problems grew from 56 per cent who were satisfied in 2017 to 80 per cent in 2020.

The satisfaction with the workmanship also increased from 78 per cent to 88 per cent.

But 63 per cent of respondants said council should do more to encourage water conservation.

Concerns were also raised about water quality in Mumbil, especially around the hardness of the water, that is the level of minerals in the water.

Geurie residents also reported problems with their water supply, mainly the quality and colour of water.

Council attributed the complaints to the dirty water and turbidity issues experienced in the town as a result of the drought and poor river quality following a period of heavy rainfall.

The water filtration plan has since been since been upgraded.

Dubbo deputy mayor Stephen Lawrence said the survey gave a “pretty interesting” insight into the community.

“It was interesting to me particularly that of those who answered, 63 per cent believe council should do more in respect of water conservation,” Cr Lawrence said.

“I thought that was an interesting response to get in July and August 2020 when we imposed water restrictions last year at a very high level and that was something that cause a lot of consternation and opinion in the community…”

But the deputy mayor said the response of the survey was comforting because it showed council had its finger on the pulse of the community

2021 January: Kangaroo Valley WFP (NSW). Algae

January 2021: Kangaroo Valley Water Filtration Plant (NSW) – Algae

Kangaroo Valley WFP. Algal ASU above minor incident level in Kangaroo Valley raw water.  Potential to cause inconvenience to water filtration plant, reducing filter run times. Naturally occurring organism in waterways.  Shoalhaven City Council notified and confirmed no
issues for treatment.

2020 November – Fitzroy Falls Picnic Area (NSW) – Turbidity

November 2020 – Fitzroy Falls Picnic Area (NSW) – Turbidity

November 2020: Elevated turbidity (~ 10.7 NTU) in Fitzroy Falls picnic area tap. Elevated turbidity may indicate inadequate disinfection. Likely disturbance of reservoir following water tanker delivery. Reticulation system flushed and all turbidity values
below 2 NTU through picnic area.

2020/21 – Lake Nepean (New South Wales) – Algae, Colour, Turbidity, Managanese

September 2020 – Lake Nepean – Algae

Sampling on 21 September recorded 1,293 ASU/mL at the dam wall site. Potential to cause inconvenience to water filtration plant, reducing filter run times. Naturally occurring organism in waterways. Notified Nepean Water Filtration Plant and recommended outlet change to a lower level to avoid algae. Information was provided regarding water quality change at proposed lower outlet level.

January 2021 – Lake Nepean – Algae

Elevated algal ASU in surface water at Lake Nepean.  Potential to cause inconvenience
to water filtration plant, reducing filter run times. Naturally occurring organism in
waterways. Plant notified and additional sampling arranged. Supply depth not impacted (15-20m from surface). ASU reduced in subsequent samples.

March 2021 – Nepean –  E.coli, Cryptosporidium, Turbidity, Colour Manganese

Exceedance of multiple parameters in Nepean raw water – turbidity, true colour, total manganese, total aluminium, alkalinity, MIB, Geosmin, E. coli (870 org/100mL) and
Cryptosporidium (12 oocysts/10L) . Elevated water quality parameters will impact water supply for treatment. Unavoidable turbid intrusion due to extensive heavy rain. Managed as part of ongoing flood incident with daily water quality updates provided to Sydney Water and
NSW Health.

August 2020: Cordeaux Reservoir Picnic Area. Turbidity

August 2020: Cordeaux Reservoir Picnic Area (NSW)

Elevated turbidity (19.8 NTU) at Cordeaux picnic tap. Elevated turbidity may indicate inadequate disinfection. Recent lake intrusion maybe causing spike in turbidity. NSW Health notified. Upper Nepean maintenance team was requested to flush the reticulation system, check for faults and test turbidity at end tap. Following flushing turbidity returned within range – 2.09 NTU

Water NSW Annual Water Quality Monitoring Report 2020-21 Appendices

 

2020: Wingecarribee Water Filtration Plant. Giardia, Cyanobacteria

Wingecarribee (NSW) WFP Giardia

July 2020: Pathogens. Wingecarribee WFP

Giardia (53 cysts/10L) detected in  raw water supply to Wingecarribee  Water Filtration Plan. Giardia can cause severe gastrointestinal illness but is easily  disinfected with chlorine during
treatment.  Naturally occurring organism in waterways. Repeat sampling was arranged. Reported to Water Filtration Plant and NSW Health according to protocols, no further action required at this level for raw water.

October 2020: Algae. Wingecarribee WFP

Potential toxin producing cyanobacteria in Wingecarribee raw water > 0.2 mm3/L. Potential toxin producing species. No toxins detected. Naturally occurring organism in
waterways. Notified Wingecarribee Shire Council and NSW  Health. No toxins detected. Updates provided on  subsequent sampling results.

 

2018/21 – Lake Monduran Service Area. (Queensland) – Trihalomethanes

Lake Monduran Service Area (Queensland) – Trihalomethanes

2018/19 Lake Monduran (Qld)  Trihalomethanes – 350 µg/L (max)

2019/20 Lake Monduran (Qld)  Trihalomethanes – 360 µg/L (max)

2020/21 Lake Monduran (Qld)  Trihalomethanes – 320 µg/L (max)

Trihalomethanes Australian Guideline Level 250μg/L (0.25mg/L)

Why and how are THMs formed?
“When chlorine is added to water with organic material, such as algae, river weeds, and decaying leaves, THMs are formed. Residual chlorine molecules react with this harmless organic material to form a group of chlorinated chemical compounds, THMs. They are tasteless and odourless, but harmful and potentially toxic. The quantity of by-products formed is determined by several factors, such as the amount and type of organic material present in water, temperature, pH, chlorine dosage, contact time available for chlorine, and bromide concentration in the water. The organic matter in water mainly consists of a) humic substance, which is the organic portion of soil that remains after prolonged microbial decomposition formed by the decay of leaves, wood, and other vegetable matter; and b) fulvic acid, which is a water soluble substance of low molecular weight that is derived from humus”. Source: https://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminant

2020/21 – Moore Park (Queensland). Total Dissolved Solids

Moore Park – Queensland – Total Dissolved Solids

2020/21: Moore Park (Queensland) Total Dissolved Solids 921.4mg/L (max), 462.5mg/L (mean)

GUIDELINE

“No specific health guideline value is provided for total dissolved solids (TDS), as there are no
health effects directly attributable to TDS. However for good palatability total dissolved solids
in drinking water should not exceed 600 mg/L.

Total dissolved solids (TDS) consist of inorganic salts and small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water. Clay particles, colloidal iron and manganese oxides and silica, fine enough to pass through a 0.45 micron filter membrane can also contribute to total dissolved solids.

2021/22: Glenlyon Water Treatment Plant (Queensland) – Turbidity

2021/22: Glenlyon WTP – Turbidity

30 samples at the Glenlyon WTP exceeded the acceptable limit in the period 12/02/2021
to the end of the reporting period of 30/06/2021 (with 28 samples at the Haigh Cottage and
33 samples at the Caravan Park (Office) exceeding the limit in this period). The maximum
turbidity recorded in this period was 14.9 NTU, 14.9 NTU, and 15 NTU at the WTP, Haigh
Cottage and Caravan Park respectively. This event was not initially notified to the regulator
as it was determined that there was no risk to public health and the event was under
operational control. Additional testing of manganese and iron levels on the 01/03/2021indicated manganese levels above ADWG aesthetic limits due to oxidation in the treated water tank. Increase in Manganese suspected to have been caused by low dam levels.
This event was notified to the Regulator on the 13/03/201 due to manganese levels above
the aesthetic limit resulting in a discolouration of the water and attributing to increased
turbidity levels. The elevated manganese levels eventually subsided however increasing
turbidity levels persisted due to higher raw water turbidity levels due to subsequent inflows
into Glenlyon Dam. Overall, elevated turbidity levels occurred throughout February – June
2021 and into the 2021/2022 reporting period.

Update: Glenlyon Dam residents and visitors advised to bring potable water

Update 2: 13 January 2022, 2:10pm

This alert applies to all residents and visitors at Glenlyon Dam who receive treated water from the Glenlyon Dam Water Supply.

Glenlyon Dam continues to have higher than normal levels of turbidity in the water supply.

Sunwater has been undertaking a series of actions to investigate the cause of the issue.

Investigations are completed and work will now be undertaken to restore the treatment capability and improve the performance of the Glenlyon Dam Water Treatment Plant.

This work involves replacing the existing UV unit and installing a trial coagulant dosing system to reduce the turbidity levels and improve the treated water quality. Sunwater expects this to be completed early in 2022.

Upon review, a permanent coagulant dosing system will be designed and installed to manage the turbidity levels.

Please be advised, the water quality notice for Glenlyon Dam will stay in effect until Sunwater is confident the issue has been suitably resolved.

Sunwater advises all residents and visitors to not use the tap water for drinking, cooking or brushing teeth. Residents and visitors are urged to bring their own potable water to the recreation area. Limited bottled water is also available for purchase from the Glenlyon Dam Tourist Park office.

2019/20: Marsden (Queensland). Turbidity

Marsden Water Supply Zone (Queensland) Turbidity

2019/20: Marsden (Queensland) Turbidity 5.5NTU (max). 2019/20 av: 0.4NTU

Chlorine-resistant pathogen reduction: Where filtration alone is used as the water treatment
process to address identified risks from Cryptosporidium and Giardia, it is essential
that filtration is optimised and consequently the target for the turbidity of water leaving
individual filters should be less than 0.2 NTU, and should not exceed 0.5 NTU at any time
Disinfection: A turbidity of less than 1 NTU is desirable at the time of disinfection with
chlorine unless a higher value can be validated in a specific context.

Aesthetic: Based on aesthetic considerations, the turbidity should not exceed 5 NTU at the
consumer’s tap.

2019/20: Logan East Water Supply Zone (Queensland). Bromodichloromethane

Logan East Water Supply Zone (Queensland) – Bromodichloromethane

2019/20:  Logan East Water Supply Zone Bromodichloromethane (Trihalomethane) 59ug/L. (2019/20 av. 31ug/L)

WHO Guideline level BDCM: 60ug/L (Australian Guideline for BDCM is included in the Trihalomethane (THM) combined total of BDCM, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane and Bromoform. THM guideline is 250ug/L)

“Carcinogenicity : Bromodichloromethane is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in experimental animals.
Cancer Studies in Experimental Animals: Oral exposure to bromodichloromethane caused tumors at several different tissue sites in mice and rats. Administration of bromodichloromethane by stomach tube caused benign and malignant kidney tumors (tubular-cell adenoma and adenocarcinoma) in male mice and in rats of both sexes, benign and
malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma and carcinoma) in female mice, and benign and malignant colon tumors (adenomatous polyps and adenocarcinoma) in rats of both sexes (NTP 1987, ATSDR 1989, IARC 1991, 1999).

Since bromodichloromethane was listed in the Sixth Annual Report on Carcinogens, additional studies in rats have been identified. Administration of bromodichloromethane in the drinking water increased the combined incidence of benign and malignant liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma or carcinoma) in males (George et al. 2002) and caused benign liver tumors (hepatocellular adenoma) in females (Tumasonis et al. 1987).

Cancer Studies in Humans
The data available from epidemiological studies are inadequate to evaluate the relationship between human cancer and exposure specifically to bromodichloromethane. Several epidemiological studies indicated a possible association between ingestion of chlorinated drinking water (which typically contains bromodichloromethane) and increased risk of
cancer in humans, but these studies could not provide information on whether any observed effects were due to bromodichloromethane or to one or more of the hundreds of other disinfection by-products also present in chlorinated water (ATSDR 1989).” (1)

2019/20: Kimberley Park (Queensland) – Turbidity

Kimberley Park Water Supply Zone (Queensland) Turbidity

2019/20: Kimberley Park (Queensland) Turbidity 5.5NTU (max). 2019/20 av: 0.4NTU

Chlorine-resistant pathogen reduction: Where filtration alone is used as the water treatment
process to address identified risks from Cryptosporidium and Giardia, it is essential
that filtration is optimised and consequently the target for the turbidity of water leaving
individual filters should be less than 0.2 NTU, and should not exceed 0.5 NTU at any time
Disinfection: A turbidity of less than 1 NTU is desirable at the time of disinfection with
chlorine unless a higher value can be validated in a specific context.

Aesthetic: Based on aesthetic considerations, the turbidity should not exceed 5 NTU at the
consumer’s tap.

1/7/19: Regents Park (Queensland). Hydrocarbons

1/7/19: Regents Park (Queensland)

Following a customer enquiry, Loganwater took samples from a property in Regents Park. Normal hydrocarbon results for Benzene, Ethylbenzene, Toluene, Xylene were within ADWG (Health) limits. However Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon and Total Recoverable Hydrocarbon results of 40µg/L were detected (for both). There are no ADWG Health limits for these.
In consultation with QLD Health, the Regulator, Industry WQ experts and other relevant guidelines, including WHO guidelines for Petroleum Products in Drinking Water (2008), it was decided that an appropriate limit was 90µg/L. This meant the results were within acceptable limits and there was no health issue. The issue was reported regardless and led to an improvement in process and customer complaint handling.

https://www.logan.qld.gov.au/downloads/file/2924/drinking-water-quality-management-plan-annual-report-2019-2020

2019/20: Woodhill Reservoir (Queensland). Chlorine

2019/20: Woodhill Reservoir – Chlorine

2/2/20: Woodhill water dosing facility dosed above 5mg/L for a period of 6 minutes (6:42am – 6:48am). Root-cause analysis showed that this was due to a downstream reservoir ceasing calling for water and the chlorine dosing station continued to dose for 6 minutes into the main – resulting in a very short-term chlorine exceedance. When the high levels were detected by the
analysers the dosing unit disabled. This triggered a page to the on-call officer.
No customer complaints were experienced, and it is likely that no customers were affected due to dilution, flows and the time of day.
SCADA reprogramming and testing of the new code and operation proved successful in addressing the underlying issue and there have been no more similar events since.
This issue occurred in October 2019, however a fault in the programming had meant that the issue was experienced again. Note that this has not occurred again, and all testing and monitoring demonstrates the system now works as designed.

18/10/19: Woodhill water dosing facility dosed above 5mg/L for a period of 15 minutes (3:30am – 3:45am). Root-cause analysis showed that this was due to a downstream reservoir ceasing calling for water and the chlorine dosing station continued to dose for 6 minutes into the main. The system worked as designed, and when the high levels were detected by the analysers, the dosing unit disabled, and this triggered a page to the on-call officer. No customer complaints were experienced, and it is likely that no customers were affected due to dilution, flows
and the time of day. SCADA reprogramming was performed to try and prevent a recurrence.

https://www.logan.qld.gov.au/downloads/file/2924/drinking-water-quality-management-plan-annual-report-2019-2020

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
Chlorine dissociates in water to form free chlorine, which consists of aqueous molecular chlorine, hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion. Chlorine and hypochlorites are toxic to microorganisms and are used extensively as disinfectants for drinking water supplies. Chlorine is also used to disinfect sewage and wastewater, swimming pool water, in-plant supplies, and industrial cooling water.

Chlorine has an odour threshold in drinking water of about 0.6 mg/L, but some people are particularly sensitive and can detect amounts as low as 0.2 mg/L. Water authorities may need to exceed the odour threshold value of 0.6 mg/L in order to maintain an effective disinfectant residual.

In the food industry, chlorine and hypochlorites are used for general sanitation and for odour control. Large amounts of chlorine are used in the production of industrial and domestic disinfectants and bleaches, and it is used in the synthesis of a large range of chemical compounds.

Free chlorine reacts with ammonia and certain nitrogen compounds to form combined chlorine. With ammonia, chlorine forms chloramines (monochloramine, dichloramine and nitrogen trichloride or trichloramine) (APHA 2012). Chloramines are used for disinfection but are weaker oxidising agents than free chlorine.

Free chlorine and combined chlorine may be present simultaneously (APHA 2012). The term totalchlorine refers to the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine present in a sample.

Chlorine (Free) ADWG Guideline: 5mg/L (Chlorine in chloraminated supplies 4.1mg/L). Chlorine dissociates in water to form free chlorine, which consists of aqueous molecular chlorine, hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion.

Chlorine (Total) ADWG Guideline 5mg/L (chloraminated supplies 4.1mg/L): The term total chlorine refers to the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine present in a sample

 

2000-2016? – Darlington Point (NSW). E.coli, Iron, Colour

2000-2016: Darlington Point (NSW): E.coli, Iron, Colour

Treated water turbidity exceeded the ADWG target for chlorine disinfection of <1 NTU in 46% of samples; although Darlington Point supply is not currently disinfected, the turbidity should be noted for future dosing installations. Total coliforms were also detected on a number of occasions. Occasional exceedances were recorded for E. coli, and rare exceedances for true colour iron. (Murrumbidgee Council Drinking Water Management Strategy 2016)
E.coli

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

Iron

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste), the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L. No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

Colour

Based on aesthetic considerations, true colour in drinking water should not exceed 15 HU.

“… Colour is generally related to organic content, and while colour derived from natural sources such as humic and fulvic acids is not a health consideration, chlorination of such water can produce a variety of chlorinated organic compounds as by-products (see Section 6.3.2 on disinfection by-products). If the colour is high at the time of disinfection, then the water should be checked for disinfection by-products. It should be noted, however, that low colour at the time of disinfection does not necessarily mean that the concentration of disinfection by-products will be low…

2000-2016? – Coleambally (NSW). E.coli, Iron

2000-2016: Coleambally (NSW): E.coli, Iron

Treated water turbidity exceeded the ADWG target for chlorine disinfection of <1 NTU in 33% of samples. Total coliforms were also detected on a number of occasions. Free and total chlorine results were consistently above the ADWG aesthetic limit of 0.6 mg/L, but it was noted that adequate disinfection is considered higher priority than aesthetic acceptability. Occasional exceedances were also recorded for E. coli and iron.(Murrumbidgee Council Drinking Water Management Strategy 2016)
E.coli

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

Iron

Based on aesthetic considerations (precipitation of iron from solution and taste), the concentration of iron in drinking water should not exceed 0.3 mg/L. No health-based guideline value has been set for iron.

Iron has a taste threshold of about 0.3 mg/L in water, and becomes objectionable above 3 mg/L. High iron concentrations give water an undesirable rust-brown appearance and can cause staining of laundry and plumbing fittings, fouling of ion-exchange softeners, and blockages in irrigation systems. Growths of iron bacteria, which concentrate iron, may cause taste and odour problems and lead to pipe restrictions, blockages and corrosion. ADWG 2011

2000-2016? + 2023 Jerilderie (NSW). Rare E.coli detections, Boil Water Alert

Boil water alert issued after Riverina town’s supply deemed unsafe

Dec 19 2023:

Drinking water in the Jerilderie township has been deemed unsafe following problems with the town’s water treatment.

An alert issued by Murrumbidgee Council states staff are currently working to fix the problem.

“Water used for drinking or food preparation should be brought to a rolling boil to make it safe,” a spokesperson for Murrumbidgee Council said.

“Kettles with automatic shut off switches can do this.

2000-2016: Jerilderie (NSW): E.coli

Long term historical water quality data relevant for each scheme are analysed prior to the risk assessment workshop, the results of which are captured in the respective Risk Workshop Report. A summary of the issues identified for Jerilderie is provided below:
Turbidity is sometimes higher than the ADWG target for chlorine disinfection of <1 NTU (based on daily data collected at the treatment plant). E. coli detection is rare. (Murrumbidgee Council Drinking Water Management Strategy 2016)

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

2022 April: Bryn Estyn Water Treatment Plant (Tasmania)

Salmon farm discharge into greater Hobart drinking water catchment causes alarm

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-30/salmon-farm-discharge-into-river-causes-alarm/101025338

April 4 2022

The environment upstream of the salmon hatchery on Tasmania’s Florentine River is pristine — it’s a sought-after destination for fly fishers.

Downstream, it is a different story.

Tasmania’s salmon industry has long relied on the state’s freshwater rivers to operate its hatcheries, but the worsening presence of sludge, bacterial matting, and nutrients in the Florentine River has some sounding the alarm.

One of those people is local fly fisher Gerard Castles, who has previously been vocal about concerns with the salmon industry’s operations in coastal waters.

Mr Castles contacted the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) after visiting the Florentine River earlier this month.

He has since sworn off fishing near the Salmon Enterprises of Tasmania (SALTAS) hatchery.

27/3/22: Boundary Bend (Victoria). Blue Green Algae

Victorian towns plead for running water supply, sewerage systems

27/3/22

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-27/victorian-towns-plead-for-running-water-supply-sewerage-system

When Steve Kendrick first arrived in Wood Wood, on the banks of the Murray River in north-west Victoria, he fell in love with the location and made his dream to run a caravan park a reality.

But the Wood Wood General Store and the caravan park operator faces an uncertain future.

“It’s something we were aware of to a point, that everybody in Wood Wood — even the businesses — have to rely on pumping from the river for domestic use,” he said.

“[Otherwise] they have to buy tank water in for drinking water as it doesn’t really rain in the Mallee very much.”

Five years ago, the Department of Health in Bendigo contacted Mr Kendrick about a blue-green algae event in the town with a population of 85.

2022 March: Wood Wood (Victoria). Blue Green Algae

Victorian towns plead for running water supply, sewerage systems

27/3/22

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-27/victorian-towns-plead-for-running-water-supply-sewerage-system

When Steve Kendrick first arrived in Wood Wood, on the banks of the Murray River in north-west Victoria, he fell in love with the location and made his dream to run a caravan park a reality.

But the Wood Wood General Store and the caravan park operator faces an uncertain future.

“It’s something we were aware of to a point, that everybody in Wood Wood — even the businesses — have to rely on pumping from the river for domestic use,” he said.

“[Otherwise] they have to buy tank water in for drinking water as it doesn’t really rain in the Mallee very much.”

Five years ago, the Department of Health in Bendigo contacted Mr Kendrick about a blue-green algae event in the town with a population of 85.

21/3/22: Gordonbrook Dam, Dead Bodies

One of two bodies in Queensland dam identified

March 21 2022

https://www.9news.com.au/national/queensland-bodies-found-floating-in-dam-one-person-identified/c088792d-0e31-41b2-850d-32350522a1ff

One of the two bodies found in a remote dam in Queensland on Saturday has been identified by police as 51-year-old Darryl Smith.
The Kingaroy man was found floating in the Gordonbrook Dam in South Burnett, bound to the body of a woman, who is yet to be formally identified.
Police are appealing for information about Mr Smith’s movements after his white Holden commodore Station Wagon was located at the dam on Saturday.
It’s believed that the vehicle was parked at the dam since at least Sunday March 13.
A group of mates on a boys weekend were camping on the banks of the dam when a kayaker found the bodies about 3.30pm on Saturday afternoon.
Camper Gene Knight said the kayaker told them what he’d found.
“He said, ‘I just found two dead bodies up there’,” he said.
“It’s pretty chaotic.”
Queensland Police have said they are not considering the involvement of a third party in relation to the deaths.
Investigations are ongoing.

 

4/3/22: Inverloch (Victoria). Boil Water Alert. Dead Birds, Sediment

Inverloch (Victoria)

Boil Water Advisory – Inverloch

Friday, March 4th, 2022

South Gippsland Water in consultation with the Department of Health advise that residents of Inverloch should boil their drinking water until further notice.

This advice has been issued following reported contaminated water in Inverloch Clear Water Storage on 4 March 2022.

We have found two deceased birds and sediment in the Inverloch supply. In the interests of public safety, we’re taking a very cautious approach. The presence of the birds may indicate some sort of contamination, which we are now testing. We’re also immediately cleaning the system to bring it back online as soon as possible.

Feb 26 2022: Balranald (NSW) Rainwater Tank Study

Feb 26 2022: Balranald (New South Wales)

Rainwater tanks that get too hot host potentially deadly bacteria, study shows

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-26/drinking-from-your-rainwater-tank-deadly-bacteria/100857044

Tim O’Halloran always thought rainwater from his tank was clean, that was until he put his water supply to the test during a monitoring project.

“You put your rainwater into a little cup, leave it there for an hour or two, then you watch the water turn a horrible, horrible colour and you know it’s full of some sort of germs,” he said.

The project, conducted at Balranald in the western Riverina, saw 17 water screening tests carried out on rainwater tanks.

Sixty per cent of those returned a positive recording for types of bacteria that could indicate the presence of viral organisms that can make people sick.

Project team member, Charles Sturt University’s Peter Waterman, said bacteria readings could be the first sign of other viral organisms being present.

He said filters and chlorine could be used to treat bacteria in water, but there was also an affordable option.

Risks to health

Australian Drinking Water Guidelines suggest the main sources of contamination to rainwater systems are birds, small animals, and debris collected on roofs.

Water sanitation and hygiene consultant Daniel Deere said E. coli and salmonella are most commonly found in tank water, but there are more serious organisms.

“In tropical parts of Australia you can get things like legionella which causes legionnaires disease,” Dr Deere said.

Dr Deere said most people can clear microorganisms naturally with no more than mild diarrhoea.

He said vulnerable people were at highest risk of getting ill, while for everyone else it can depend on immunity.

“If you’re from an urban centre, or you drink town water, and you go on holiday to a country house somewhere that’s got rainwater, it is possible you won’t be as immune to what’s in that water,” Dr Deere said.

Impacts of climate change

A key part of the monitoring project was to determine the impacts of climate change on domestic water supplies in remote and rural areas.

Professor Waterman said some organisms, like Naegleria fowleri, thrive in warmer water.

“It is as happy as Larry to live in water from 23 to over 40 degrees Celsius,” he said.

25/2/22: Casino (New South Wales). Turbidity

Casino (New South Wales) Turbidity Feb 25 2022

Casino – boil your drinking water

The current flooding has led to the Richmond Valley Council (RVC) being unable to ensure that drinking water is safe to drink from the tap and are asking residents to boil their water before drinking and food preparation.

‘Water sourced from the Richmond River has experienced high turbidity levels following recent rain events,’ said a spokesperson for RVC.

‘This poor source water has resulted in the inability to reliably purify the water and so, as a precautionary measure, Council requests that all residents who source their water from the Casino Treatment Plant boil the water for the uses noted below.

25/2/22: Casino (NSW) Turbidity

Chlorine-resistant pathogen reduction: Where filtration alone is used as the water treatment
process to address identified risks from Cryptosporidium and Giardia, it is essential
that filtration is optimised and consequently the target for the turbidity of water leaving
individual filters should be less than 0.2 NTU, and should not exceed 0.5 NTU at any time
Disinfection: A turbidity of less than 1 NTU is desirable at the time of disinfection with
chlorine unless a higher value can be validated in a specific context.

Aesthetic: Based on aesthetic considerations, the turbidity should not exceed 5 NTU at the
consumer’s tap.

NSW residents urged to boil tap water as expert warns catastrophic floods could lead to raw sewage contamination

March 2 2022: https://www.skynews.com.au/australia-news/nsw-residents-urged-to-boil-tap-water-as-expert-warns-catastrophic-floods-could-lead-to-raw-sewage-contamination/news-story/c8b18d1b00400784edcc81a9645e0a56

New South Wales residents have been urged to boil their tap water as wild weather and heavy rain inundate the state, contaminating flood water with raw sewage.

NSW Health is urging residents in parts of the state to avoid drinking unboiled tap water as wild weather and flash flooding continues across Australia’s east coast.

Record levels of rain have inundated parts of Queensland and NSW as heavy downpours engulf the east coast – flooding homes, breaking sewage systems and leaving cars submerged.

A boil water alert has been issued for residents in Richmond Valley Council (Casino and surrounds) and Tweed Shire council (Uki and South Murwillumbah/Dunbible).

Director of the Australian Graduate School of Engineering at UNSW Professor Stuart Khan says floodwaters inundating these areas are “almost always” highly contaminated.

“Floodwaters contain lots of organic carbon and sediment, which is picked up from erosion of riverbanks and other overland flow,” he told SkyNews.com.au.

“In urban areas, floods fill sewers and cause them to overflow, so flood waters also quickly become contaminated with raw sewage.

“When this occurs, bacteria and viruses from sewage create public health risks for anyone who comes into contact with untreated flood waters.”

Prof Khan says anyone who comes into contact with untreated flood waters is at risk of contracting illnesses including gastro, skin infections and ear infections.

The northern NSW town of Mullumbimby is experiencing a water shortage after its water treatment plant was knocked out by catastrophic floods.

The Byron Shire Council says they are working to tank fresh water supplies into the town but encourages residents to “heed to water restrictions”.

Prof Khan says the demand for clean water can be “very high” as parts of the state clean up following the deluge.

“When reduced water supply occurs at the same time as increased water demand, this exacerbates the risk of shortages,” he said.

“Any drinking water supply that significantly loses pressure during a flood is at risk of contamination by floodwaters.

“If there is concern that this may have occurred, people should avoid drinking tap water unless they are able to boil it first.”

NSW Health says water used for drinking or food preparation should be brought to a rolling boil and allowed to cool completely before refrigerating in a clean container with a lid.

Bottled water or cool boiled water should be used for drinking, washing uncooked food (salad, fruit), making ice, cleaning teeth, gargling and for pet’s drinking water.

Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher and children should take bottled water or cool boiled water to school.

26/1/18: Innaminka (South Australia). Algae and water supply running dry

History repeats itself as outback town’s water supply slowly disappears

26/1/18

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-26/history-repeats-itself-as-water-supply-slowly-disappears/9365312

Innamincka is a tiny town in far north-east South Australia, a 23-hour drive from Adelaide.

It is so isolated that in 1860, explorers Robert Burke and William Wills were the first to visit the place that would become known as Innamincka and the nearby Cooper Creek, while trying a journey from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

It is also the site of the famous Dig Tree, where William Brahe left supplies for Burke and Wills after waiting four months for their return from the Gulf.

The two explorers returned to Cooper Creek only hours after Brahe had decided to leave and after leaving the tree, both men lost their camels and were unable to carry enough water to cross the Strzelecki Desert, thereby isolating them to Cooper Creek.

Eventually in 1861, the two explorers died, dehydrated and exhausted, in the middle of the desert.

History repeating itself

More than 150 years after the Burke and Wills expedition failed, Innamincka is again facing serious concerns about supplies — specifically, water.

The town has been collecting water from Policeman’s Waterhole, two kilometres away, and transporting it via a water truck paid for by residents.

Now, the waterhole is running dry and there is a chance of blue-green algae developing.

Ali Matthews, one of only 13 people who call Innamincka home, said the town was in dire need of a more stable water supply.

“We don’t want to run that waterhole so low that there is a possibility of [algae developing],” she said.

“Once that happens, and it gets into our pumps and water tanks, it’s basically contaminated.

“I’ve got a young family and I don’t want those issues that could potentially be health issues in the future.”

Bore water the only solution

Ms Matthews said a new bore water source would be the best option for the town.

“There is a bore under review, for some time, and it would be a lot better to have that as a backup because we shouldn’t be always relying on the creek water,” she said.

Ms Matthews said the Outback Communities Authority (OCA) had been silent on helping them so far.

Members of the Innamincka Progress Association are finalising letters they will be sending to the OCA.

“Hopefully all this will bring us together and, hopefully, get a great outcome,” Ms Matthews said.

OCA already listening

Chair of the OCA Cecilia Woolford said there were already a number of projects in the pipeline to deliver water to Innamincka, including a new source called Lisbeth Bore.

“This could be used normally as the last resort backup, however it is owned by the Innamincka Progress Association and it is able to be used,” she said.

Ms Woolford said the “unmetered usage” of water by some residences and businesses in the town had led to the situation the town now found itself in.

The OCA will hold a community consultation session at Innamincka in February to try and find a more permanent solution to the town’s water supply.

2010/18: Kandanga (Queensland). Chlorine, Hardness, Trihalomethanes, Lead

2010/12 – Kandanga (Queensland) – Chlorine

2010/12: Kandanga (Queensland) – Chlorine 7.7mg/L (highest level)

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
Chlorine dissociates in water to form free chlorine, which consists of aqueous molecular chlorine, hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion. Chlorine and hypochlorites are toxic to microorganisms and are used extensively as disinfectants for drinking water supplies. Chlorine is also used to disinfect sewage and wastewater, swimming pool water, in-plant supplies, and industrial cooling water.

Chlorine has an odour threshold in drinking water of about 0.6 mg/L, but some people are particularly sensitive and can detect amounts as low as 0.2 mg/L. Water authorities may need to exceed the odour threshold value of 0.6 mg/L in order to maintain an effective disinfectant residual.

In the food industry, chlorine and hypochlorites are used for general sanitation and for odour control. Large amounts of chlorine are used in the production of industrial and domestic disinfectants and bleaches, and it is used in the synthesis of a large range of chemical compounds.

Free chlorine reacts with ammonia and certain nitrogen compounds to form combined chlorine. With ammonia, chlorine forms chloramines (monochloramine, dichloramine and nitrogen trichloride or trichloramine) (APHA 2012). Chloramines are used for disinfection but are weaker oxidising agents than free chlorine.

Free chlorine and combined chlorine may be present simultaneously (APHA 2012). The term totalchlorine refers to the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine present in a sample.

Chlorine (Free) ADWG Guideline: 5mg/L (Chlorine in chloraminated supplies 4.1mg/L). Chlorine dissociates in water to form free chlorine, which consists of aqueous molecular chlorine, hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion.

Chlorine (Total) ADWG Guideline 5mg/L (chloraminated supplies 4.1mg/L): The term total chlorine refers to the sum of free chlorine and combined chlorine present in a sample

Kandanga – (Queensland) – Hardness

2010/12: Kandanga (Queensland) – Hardness 218mg/L (Highest Detection)

GUIDELINE

“To minimise undesirable build‑up of scale in hot water systems, total hardness (as calcium
carbonate) in drinking water should not exceed 200 mg/L.

Hard water requires more soap than soft water to obtain a lather. It can also cause scale to form on hot water pipes and fittings. Hardness is caused primarily by the presence of calcium and magnesium ions, although other cations such as strontium, iron, manganese and barium can also contribute.”

Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011

Kandanga (Queensland) – Trihalomethanes

2017/18 Kandanga (Qld)  Trihalomethanes – 310 µg/L (max), 209 µg/L (mean)

Trihalomethanes Australian Guideline Level 250μg/L (0.25mg/L)

Why and how are THMs formed?
“When chlorine is added to water with organic material, such as algae, river weeds, and decaying leaves, THMs are formed. Residual chlorine molecules react with this harmless organic material to form a group of chlorinated chemical compounds, THMs. They are tasteless and odourless, but harmful and potentially toxic. The quantity of by-products formed is determined by several factors, such as the amount and type of organic material present in water, temperature, pH, chlorine dosage, contact time available for chlorine, and bromide concentration in the water. The organic matter in water mainly consists of a) humic substance, which is the organic portion of soil that remains after prolonged microbial decomposition formed by the decay of leaves, wood, and other vegetable matter; and b) fulvic acid, which is a water soluble substance of low molecular weight that is derived from humus”. Source: https://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminant

2016/17 – Kandanga (Queensland) – Lead

2016/17: Kandanga (Queensland) – Lead 0.011mg/L (max).

Lead Australian Drinking Water Guideline 0.01mg/L

“… Lead can be present in drinking water as a result of dissolution from natural sources, or from household plumbing systems containing lead. These may include lead in pipes, or in solder used to seal joints. The amount of lead dissolved will depend on a number of factors including pH, water hardness and the standing time of the water.

Lead is the most common of the heavy metals and is mined widely throughout the world. It is used in the production of lead acid batteries, solder, alloys, cable sheathing, paint pigments, rust inhibitors, ammunition, glazes and plastic stabilisers. The organo-lead compounds tetramethyl and tetraethyl lead are used extensively as anti-knock and lubricating compounds in gasoline…ADWG 2011

2011/18: Horn Island (Queensland). Cryptosporidium, E.coli, Arsenic, Temperature

Infectious parasites found in Torres Strait Islands’ water making residents sick

19 July 2018

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-19/cryptosporidium-parasites-detected-in-torres-strait-water/10002514

Torres Strait Islanders believe they are being denied a basic first-world human right to clean drinking water after cryptosporidium was detected in the water supplies of three islands.

The microscopic parasite was found at levels of 2.0 (oo)cysts/10L in a sample tested by Cairns Regional Council’s Water Laboratory.

There is no set guideline value for the parasite in the Australian Drinking Water Standards, but cryptosporidiosis is an immediately reportable infectious disease.

The water test was organised privately by a Thursday Island resident in May, concerned with the lack of response by governments at all levels.

The outcome led to a boil water alert being issued, with a joint Torres Shire Council and Queensland Health statement in June citing “turbidity and a bacterial risk” in the water supplies of Thursday, Horn and Hammond Islands.

Water quality has significantly deteriorated over the past two years, according to residents.

“There’s a dirty colour to the water … people are getting sick, stomach bugs and stuff,” said Thursday Island resident Rita Kebisu.

“We seem to be going backwards into third world standards when we still need to boil our water.”

Queensland Health said Thursday Island’s hospital has seen no unusual levels of water-related illnesses.

“We all put it down to the normal virus going round, a 24-hour virus, you’ve got a bit of diarrhoea, vomiting,” said another island resident, Chi Chi Fujii.

Eight cases of cryptosporidiosis have been reported in the Torres and Cape region in 2018, up from two last year, while there were 23 cases in 2016.

Sinking costs into fixing dirty water

Bad water is also bad for business, especially when you run a cafe like Raphael Gushtaspi.

“Water filters, they’re $80 each, plus the paper filters are $26, and you’re changing them monthly,” Mr Gushtaspi said.

Normally you could get a year out of a high micron canister filter and within four months I’ve got to change it. That’s how much it clogs up now.”

He said the water crisis is also creating unacceptable workplace health and safety issues for his staff and clientele.

“Customers want water, we want water to wash up, to clean, and we don’t want to run the risk of making anyone sick,” the cafe owner said.

No quick-fix to island water upgrade

The Queensland Government has pledged $12 million in this year’s budget for a series of projects to deliver improved water quality on the islands over the next two years.

Opponents are sceptical whether that will be enough to fix issues with undersea pipelines connecting the Horn Island reservoir to Thursday and Hammond Islands.

“All of the system is going to need to be somehow flushed, this is not a small job,” said the Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Enstch.

Residents said they also want relief for the cost of accessing clean water during the upgrade.

“How do we manage over two years? Do we get some sort of rebate from the Council because we are buying water every day?” Ms Fujji said.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe said a rebate was unlikely.

“There’s no requirement to use bottled water. There are other solutions which people are advised about, on a regular basis, about boiling water,” Mr Hinchcliffe said.

“That’s not an unusual thing when these unfortunate circumstances occur.”

The ABC contacted Torres Shire Regional Council but no-one was available for comment.

Cryptosporidium

“In recent years, Cryptosporidium has come to be regarded as one of the most important waterborne human pathogens in developed countries. Over 30 outbreaks associated with drinking water have beenreported in North America and Britain, with the largest infecting an estimated 403,000 people (Mackenzieet al. 1994). Recent research has led to improved methods for testing water for the presence of humaninfectious species, although such tests remain technically demanding and relatively expensive.

Cryptosporidium is an obligate parasite with a complex life cycle that involves intracellular development in the gut wall, with sexual and asexual reproduction. Thick-walled oocysts, shed in faeces are responsible for transmission. Concentrations of oocysts as high as 14,000 per litre in raw sewage and 5,800 per litre in surface water have been reported (Madore et al. 1987). Oocysts are robust and can survive for weeks to months in fresh water under cold conditions (King and Monis 2007).

There are a number of species of Cryptosporidium, with C. hominis and C. parvum identified as the main causes of disease (cryptosporidiosis) in humans. C. hominis appears to be confined to human hosts, while the C. parvum strains that infect humans also occur in cattle and sheep. C. parvum infection sare particularly common in young animals, and it has been reported that infected calves can excrete up to 10 billion oocysts in one day. Waterborne outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis have been attributed to inadequate or faulty treatment and contamination by human or livestock (particularly cattle) waste.

C. hominis and C. parvum can be distinguished from one another and from other Cryptosporidium species  by a number of genotyping methods. Infectivity tests using cell culture techniques have also been developed. Consumption of contaminated drinking water is only one of several mechanisms by which transmission (faecal-oral) can occur. Recreational waters, including swimming pools, are an important source of cryptosporidiosis and direct contact with a human carrier is also a common route of transmission.Transmission of Cryptosporidium can also occur by contact with infected farm animals, and occasionally through contaminated food.” ADWG 2011

Horn Island (Queensland): E.coli

2011/12 E.coli 5 organisms/100mL (highest detection) 9 detections of ecoli 2011/12

“Coliforms are Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, rod-shaped bacteria that are capable of aerobic and facultative anaerobic growth in the presence of bile salts or other surface active agents with similar growth-inhibiting properties. They are found in large numbers in the faeces of humans and other warm-blooded animals, but many species also occur in the environment.

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 2011

Torres Dam (Queensland) – Arsenic

2011/12: Arsenic 0.014mg/L (highest level)

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. https://www.health.qld.gov.au/ph/documents/ehu/2676.pdf

Torres Dam – Queensland – Temperature

2011/12: Torres Dam (Queensland) – Temperature 22C

2011/12: Horn Island Dam (Queensland) – Temperature 22C

GUIDELINE

“No guideline is set due to the impracticality of controlling water temperature.
Drinking water temperatures above 20°C may result in an increase in the number of
complaints.

Temperature is primarily an aesthetic criterion for drinking water. Generally, cool water is more palatable than warm or cold water. In general, consumers will react to a change in water temperature. Complaints are most frequent when the temperature suddenly increases.

The turbidity and colour of filtered water may be indirectly affected by temperature, as low water temperatures tend to decrease the efficiency of water treatment processes by, for instance, affecting floc formation rates and sedimentation efficiency.

Chemical reaction rates increase with temperature, and this can lead to greater corrosion of pipes and fittings in closed systems. Scale formation in hard waters will also be greater at higher temperatures…

Water temperatures in major Australian reticulated supplies range from 10°C to 30°C. In some long, above-ground pipelines, water temperatures up to 45°C may be experienced…

The effectiveness of chlorine as a disinfectant is influenced by the temperature of the water being dosed. Generally higher temperatures result in more effective disinfection at a particular chlorine dose, but this may be counterbalanced by a more rapid loss of chlorine to the atmosphere (AWWA 1990).

29/5/15: Beverley (South Australia). Contaminated Groundwater. Trichloroethylene

Note: Not likely to have been detected in drinking water

Toxic chemical found in suburban Adelaide

May 29 2015

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/toxic-chemical-found-in-adelaide-suburb/news-story/2074ae61e3ac7924e98a5a45215d01e7

A TOXIC chemical has been found in groundwater and soil at Beverley in Adelaide’s north-western suburbs.

THE Environment Protection Authority (EPA) says tests have confirmed the presence of trichloroethene or TCE in a number of locations.

TCE is a solvent that can cause nausea, headaches and dizziness with high exposure affecting the respiratory and central nervous systems.

It was previously found in another area in Adelaide where residents were forced to leave their homes.

The EPA said the latest tests found levels of TCE in both groundwater and soil vapour with soil vapour levels higher than expected.

Further tests and analysis will now be conducted to determine the health risks to local residents who have already been warned not to use groundwater for any purpose.

“Residents in the Beverley area will see activity from contractors in the next few weeks who will be drilling a series of small, shallow bore holes to determine what further work or remedial action will be required,” EPA spokesman Peter Dolan said on Friday.

10/11/2011: Elizabeth (South Australia). Contaminated groundwater. Trichloroethylene

Note: unlikely to have contaminated drinking water

Holden warns of contaminated groundwater

November 10 2011

https://www.smh.com.au/national/holden-warns-of-contaminated-groundwater-20111111-1nbdk.html

Car maker Holden has warned property owners around its Elizabeth assembly plant in Adelaide against using possibly contaminated groundwater.

In a letter presented to property owners the company said it had identified historical contamination under its site with the detection of industrial solvents previously used for cleaning metal parts and plastics.

Holden said it had found trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethene (PCE) at identifiable levels in groundwater about 18to 20 metres under the plant.

Low levels of both chemicals had also been found at the northeastern boundary of the company’s property and of TCE at the northern boundary.

“The risk posed by these chemicals is low given the concentrations that have been detected,” Holden told property owners.

“Nevertheless, we have notified (the) Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and are working with the EPA on this historical issue and are undertaking further testing and sampling of the contamination.”

Holden said it was in the process of determining where to sink test bores and warned against the use of bore water for any purpose until further notice.

“Please be assured that your health and safety are our top priority,” the company told property owners.

The EPA said it was previously notified of the contamination under the Holden site in February but had since been provided with further information by the company.

Acting chief executive Tony Circelli there were no bores on residential properties within the investigation area but there were some commercial bores.

22/7/2014: Clovelly Park (South Australia). Contaminated groundwater. Trichloroethylene

Note: not likely to have been detected in drinking water

Toxic sites in Adelaide’s suburbs number in their thousands

THE Opposition has demanded a statewide audit of contaminated sites, as it emerges the dangers of trichloroethene entering groundwater was suspected as far back as the 1940s.

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/toxic-sites-in-adelaides-suburbs-number-in-their-thousands/news-story/4a65b297bbd4287a74c89c2c8ab6c8fa

July 22 2014

THE Opposition has demanded a statewide audit of contaminated sites, as it emerges the dangers of trichloroethene entering groundwater was suspected as far back as the 1940s.
The call for an audit comes after Environmental Protection Authority chief executive Tony Circelli confirmed that “thousands” of sites were contaminated with various chemicals and the EPA received about 100 new notifications each year.

The State Government and Environment Minister Ian Hunter are under increasing pressure over the contamination scandal in Clovelly Park, where dozens of people have been forced to leave their homes because of health risks from the vapours of trichloroethene (TCE) rising up through the soil from industrially poisoned groundwater.

Mr Circelli, was responding to a claim by UniSA Professor Ravi Naidu, the managing director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation, that there are about 4000 contaminated sites in SA.

Mr Circelli said that claim was incorrect, but conceded the number “is in the thousands”.

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said an audit was needed to clarify the exact number of contaminated sites and their locations.

“The purpose of conducting a statewide audit would be to establish a hierarchy of sites based on potential public health risks,” he said.

“As well as playing an important community awareness role, the audit could also provide a benchmark for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of contaminated sites for the EPA and assist with any future contamination investigations.

“This audit would inform South Australian families and businesses about any potential contamination risks that they should be aware of, as well as future development and investment decisions.”

The Opposition also will request State Parliament’s Statutory Authorities Review Committee inquire into how the EPA has discharged its duties.

The EPA lists its major areas of concern as Keswick, Marleston, Clovelly Park-Mitchell Park, the Holden plant at Elizabeth, Hendon, Glenelg East, three areas of Edwardstown including one reaching into South Plympton, and Solomontown at Port Pirie.

It also established a groundwater prohibition area in the Allenby Gardens/Flinders Park area in June last year, due to excavations of clay subsequently being filled with industrial waste which contaminated the groundwater.

Since 1999 the EPA has successfully prosecuted 63 companies, individuals, councils and utilities for pollution offences resulting in fines of between $60 and $415,000, either as court cases resulting in convictions or negotiated civil penalties.

One case was dismissed, two were withdrawn by consent and in three cases not guilty verdicts were returned including one which resulted in the EPA being hit with $47,000 in costs.

Meanwhile EPA boss Mr Circelli revealed the EPA has found a material data safety sheet from the 1940s advising anyone using TCE not to dispose of rags contaminated with the chemical anywhere near a water course.

6/10/17: Thebarton (South Australia) houses contaminated. Trichloroethylene

Note: Unlikely to have been detected in drinking water in these houses

Trichloroethene contamination found within five homes in Thebarton

GROUNDWATER contamination has leached into five households in Thebarton with the EPA now offering ventilation and extraction systems to affected residents.

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/trichloroethene-contamination-found-within-five-homes-in-thebarton/news-story/f3b1519487d2569fe5b0af7e50a33d2c

October 6 2017

CONTAMINATED groundwater has leached into several houses in an Adelaide inner suburb, posing a long term health risk to residents.

The Environmental Protection Agency has warned residents in the contamination zone not to use their bore water for any purpose.

The EPA identified 17 impacted properties after high concentrations of trichloroethene, or TCE, was located in the groundwater around Thebarton.

Of the 17 households, the EPA received permission to test eight properties.

Tests for three of the properties did not return positive results for TCE.

However five of the properties had TCE present during indoor vapour testing.

All five properties had between 20 and 200 microgrammes of TCE present during air testing, which the EPA considers a possible health risk and earmarks the property for intervention.

A baseline average for TCE in houses is around two micrograms.

Testing showed most of the properties had between 20 and 30 micrograms present, however one property recorded a result of 70 micrograms, more than 35 times the average reading.

EPA regulation director Peter Dolan said affected households would be offered custom made ventilation and extraction systems which would remove nearly all TCE vapour.

The system uses pipes beneath affected properties which uses a low wattage fan to extract vapour and release it above the roof line of the house.

The system takes a week to install and is optional for residents.

TCE is a commonly used degreasing agent and is typically found in soil and groundwater of former industrial sites especially where metal working was conducted.

While exposure to low level TCE does no result in an immediate reaction, decades of exposure has been linked to cancer of the liver and kidneys and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

 

8/8/17: Groundwater ban, Edwardstown (South Australia). Trichloroethylene

Highly unlikely to have been detected in Edwardstown drinking water

Groundwater-use ban possible for several Adelaide suburbs, EPA says

Aug 8 2017

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-08/possible-groundwater-ban-for-several-adelaide-suburbs/8783936

Thousands of residents in Adelaide’s south-west could be banned indefinitely from using groundwater due to contamination from a dangerous industrial chemical.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is found in industrial solvents and exposure to the chemical can cause some types of cancer.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) said TCE had been detected in groundwater accessible from properties in Edwardstown, South Plympton, Plympton Park, Park Holme, Ascot Park and Melrose Park.

EPA director of regulation Peter Dolan said the contamination was “well known” but the authority was now looking into whether a blanket ban was needed.

“There’s about seven source sites [and] a number of contamination plumes in the groundwater and they’ve been assessed over quite a long period of time,” he said.

“We’ve decided we need to group them all together and consider banning groundwater taken in the whole area.

“What we’re considering is banning the use of groundwater taken from bores which are shallower than 30 metres deep [and] that’s because that’s where the contamination happens to be.

“The affected area is bordered by Daws Road to the south, South Road to the east, just past Marion Road to the west and Maxwell Avenue to the north.”

Mr Dolan said residents had been warned for several years that the bore water was not safe for use.

“[TCE] is known to cause … rarer forms of liver and kidney cancers and also non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” he said.

“We know that most people in the area don’t use groundwater — it would be as low as maybe 3 per cent of households that have access to a bore.

“The challenge is, we don’t know where they all are.”

Information sessions will be held for affected residents next month, with a final decision on a ban expected to be made by the end of the year.

2020/21: Tintintara (South Australia). Ammonia

Tintintara  (South Australia) – Ammonia

25/11/20: Tintintara (South Australia) Ammonia – Free – as NH3 0.5mg/L

24/3/21: Tintintara (South Australia) Ammonia – Free – as NH3 0.5mg/L

Based on aesthetic considerations (corrosion of copper pipes and fittings), the concentration
of ammonia (measured as ammonia) in drinking water should not exceed 0.5 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value is set for ammonia.

“…Most uncontaminated source waters have ammonia concentrations below 0.2 mg/L. High concentrations (greater than 10 mg/L) have been reported where water is contaminated with animal waste. Ammonia is unlikely to be detected in chlorinated supplies as it reacts quickly with free chlorine. Ammonia in water can result in the corrosion of copper pipes and fittings, causing copper stains on sanitary ware. It is also a food source for some microorganisms, and can support nuisance growths of bacteria and algae, often with a resultant increase in the nitrite concentration.” ADWG 2011

2021/23: Moculta (South Australia). Ammonia, pH

Moculta  (South Australia) – Ammonia

14/1/21: (South Australia) 14/1/21 Ammonia – Free – as NH3 0.5mg/L

Based on aesthetic considerations (corrosion of copper pipes and fittings), the concentration
of ammonia (measured as ammonia) in drinking water should not exceed 0.5 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value is set for ammonia.

“…Most uncontaminated source waters have ammonia concentrations below 0.2 mg/L. High concentrations (greater than 10 mg/L) have been reported where water is contaminated with animal waste. Ammonia is unlikely to be detected in chlorinated supplies as it reacts quickly with free chlorine. Ammonia in water can result in the corrosion of copper pipes and fittings, causing copper stains on sanitary ware. It is also a food source for some microorganisms, and can support nuisance growths of bacteria and algae, often with a resultant increase in the nitrite concentration.” ADWG 2011

Moculta (South Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2022/23: Moculta (South Australia) Average: 8.62 pH units

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

When pH is below 6.5 or above 11, the water may corrode plumbing fittings and pipes. This, however, will depend on other factors such as the material used, the concentration and type of ions in solution, the availability of oxygen, and the water temperature. Under some conditions, particularly in the presence of strong oxidising agents such as chlorine, water with a pH between 6.5 and 7 can be quite corrosive.

Chlorine disinfection efficiency is impaired above pH 8.0, although the optimum pH for monochloramine disinfectant formation is between 8.0 and 8.4. In chloraminated supplies chlorine can react with ammonia to form odorous nitrogen trichloride below pH 7.

Chlorination of water supplies can decrease the pH, while it can be significantly raised by lime leached from new concrete tanks or from pipes lined with asbestos cement or cement mortar. Values of pH above 9.5 can cause a bitter taste in drinking water, and can irritate skin if the water is used for ablutions.

2021/23: Keyneton (South Australia). Ammonia, pH

Keyneton  (South Australia) – Ammonia

14/1/21: Keyneton (South Australia) Ammonia – Free – as NH3 0.56mg/L

2022/23: Keyneton (South Australia) Ammonia – Free – as N 0.52mg/L (max), 0.292mg/L (av.)

2022/23: Keyneton (South Australia) Ammonia – Free – as NH3 0.63mg/L (max), 0.35mg/L (av.)

Based on aesthetic considerations (corrosion of copper pipes and fittings), the concentration
of ammonia (measured as ammonia) in drinking water should not exceed 0.5 mg/L.
No health-based guideline value is set for ammonia.

“…Most uncontaminated source waters have ammonia concentrations below 0.2 mg/L. High concentrations (greater than 10 mg/L) have been reported where water is contaminated with animal waste. Ammonia is unlikely to be detected in chlorinated supplies as it reacts quickly with free chlorine. Ammonia in water can result in the corrosion of copper pipes and fittings, causing copper stains on sanitary ware. It is also a food source for some microorganisms, and can support nuisance growths of bacteria and algae, often with a resultant increase in the nitrite concentration.” ADWG 2011

2022/23: Keyneton (South Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2022/23: Keyneton (South Australia) pH 8.54 (av.)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

One of the major objectives in controlling pH is to minimise corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings. Corrosion can be reduced by the formation of a protective layer of calcium carbonate on the inside of the pipe or fitting, and the formation of this layer is affected by pH, temperature, the availability of calcium (hardness) and carbon dioxide. If the water is too alkaline (above pH 8.5), the rapid deposition and build-up of calcium carbonate that can result may eventually block the pipe.

Oct 9 2021: Marrackville (NSW). Taste Issues

Why your water tastes like ‘fresh lawn clippings and dirt’ – but it’s still fine to drink

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10074411/Households-notice-water-tastes-like-dirt-Sydney-Water-says-fine-drink.html

Oct 9 2021

  • News surrounding issue emerged after residents in Sydney took to social media
  • Many reported to Sydney Water that their water in household tasted like ‘dirt’
  • Sydney Water confirmed they received ‘numerous reports’ of the sudden change
  • The organisation says it is due to a change of weather near Warragamba Dam
  • They are working with water quality technicians, but it could last many weeks 

Outrage has been sparked across Sydney after many residents noticed their water smells like ‘fresh lawn clippings and dirt’.

Residents across the city took to social media from Wednesday to report their concerns that their water had been impacted.

One individual wrote: ‘Loving the new dirty, earthy mouldy water Sydney Water is giving to Parramatta the last few days. I love nothing more than showering in water that stinks like mould.’

‘As of yesterday, my neighbour and I noticed that our @SydneyWaterNews tap water suddenly tastes bad. It tastes a little like dirt. Is anyone else in #Marrickville having this problem?’ wrote another.

While a third asked: ‘Is anyone else’s #sydneywater tasting a bit…earthier than usual this past day?’

Sydney Water confirmed to worried residents on social media that they had received ‘numerous reports’ of the unexpected change in the taste of their water supply.

‘This has been caused by a change of weather near Warragamba Dam that has impacted our supply from that area,’ they wrote.

‘Please be assured that all our water is treated to a very high standard before it enters the drinking water supply and our water quality technicians have found no health impacts to the water supply due to this event.’

Sydney Water added that the only difference residents would notice is the change to the water’s taste.

The organisation is currently notifying water quality technicians of all properties affected by the issue to help manage the situation.

However, the issue may continue for several weeks, depending on the blending of the water sources that supply the water filtration plant.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Sydney Water for further comment.

 

Oct 9 2021: Parramatta (NSW). Taste Issues

Why your water tastes like ‘fresh lawn clippings and dirt’ – but it’s still fine to drink

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10074411/Households-notice-water-tastes-like-dirt-Sydney-Water-says-fine-drink.html

Oct 9 2021

  • News surrounding issue emerged after residents in Sydney took to social media
  • Many reported to Sydney Water that their water in household tasted like ‘dirt’
  • Sydney Water confirmed they received ‘numerous reports’ of the sudden change
  • The organisation says it is due to a change of weather near Warragamba Dam
  • They are working with water quality technicians, but it could last many weeks 

Outrage has been sparked across Sydney after many residents noticed their water smells like ‘fresh lawn clippings and dirt’.

Residents across the city took to social media from Wednesday to report their concerns that their water had been impacted.

One individual wrote: ‘Loving the new dirty, earthy mouldy water Sydney Water is giving to Parramatta the last few days. I love nothing more than showering in water that stinks like mould.’

‘As of yesterday, my neighbour and I noticed that our @SydneyWaterNews tap water suddenly tastes bad. It tastes a little like dirt. Is anyone else in #Marrickville having this problem?’ wrote another.

While a third asked: ‘Is anyone else’s #sydneywater tasting a bit…earthier than usual this past day?’

Sydney Water confirmed to worried residents on social media that they had received ‘numerous reports’ of the unexpected change in the taste of their water supply.

‘This has been caused by a change of weather near Warragamba Dam that has impacted our supply from that area,’ they wrote.

‘Please be assured that all our water is treated to a very high standard before it enters the drinking water supply and our water quality technicians have found no health impacts to the water supply due to this event.’

Sydney Water added that the only difference residents would notice is the change to the water’s taste.

The organisation is currently notifying water quality technicians of all properties affected by the issue to help manage the situation.

However, the issue may continue for several weeks, depending on the blending of the water sources that supply the water filtration plant.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Sydney Water for further comment.

 

29/7/21: Cockatoo Springs/Ngunulum (Western Australia) – Drinking Water Quality Questioned

Some Kimberley Indigenous communities still without microbial drinking water testing

July 29 2021

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-29/water-testing-kimberley/100326220

Throughout Western Australia’s Kimberley region, potentially hundreds of Indigenous residents drink water each day without knowing whether it is harming their health.

Those residents live in or regularly visit the 44 remote communities classed as ‘very small’, which are included in the WA Government’s Remote Essential and Municipal Services Program, known as REMS.

In 2019, these communities started receiving annual drinking water testing for only chemical contaminants —  four years after a scathing Western Australian Auditor General’s report.

Since then, a handful of those very small remote communities have been put on the Department of Communities’ regular water testing schedule.

But the vast majority, all of which are in the Kimberley, still do not receive testing for dangerous microbes such as the potentially lethal E. coli bacteria.

That lack of testing was highlighted in this year’s follow-up Auditor General’s report, which found E. coli and uranium contamination still remained an issue in some communities.

Residents in those communities say they, like almost all Australians, deserve to know their drinking water is safe, while experts point to technologies such as mobile testing kits as a potential solution.

Australia is a signatory to a United Nations goal to achieve “universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all” by 2030.

‘It would help us become a healthier person’

Indigenous advocate and renowned painter Ben Ward lives in the community of Cockatoo Springs, near Kununurra, which has a reputation for producing quality Aboriginal artwork.

The Miriwoong man, also known as ‘Gullmirr’, said he had long lobbied governments to test the drinking water in his community for dangerous microbes.

“I am concerned … it would help us become a healthier person,” he said.

“I’d like to see it [fixed] for future generations so I can teach people about arts.”

Mr Ward was also worried wastewater and sewage from the community could potentially find their way into the bore that the community’s supply of drinking water was drawn from.

“We’ve got the community up on the top part of the ridge and the water runs to the bottom,” Mr Ward said.

“In the station days, we would drink out of a billabong because we knew it was clean.”

Department spokesman Paul Isaachsen said in a statement to the ABC the bore was protected by sealing the bore head.

“A septic tank that is well-managed and periodically serviced should not impact negatively on the groundwater supply,” he said.

No testing exposes residents to health complaints

University of Queensland environmental health researcher Nina Lansbury Hall studies the impact water, housing and waste delivery have on the health of residents in Indigenous communities.

Dr Lansbury Hall said not testing drinking water for microbes exposed residents in those communities to “high” health risks.

“Microbial contamination is always something we need to worry about … a big part of that is faeces being the source of contamination,” Dr Lansbury Hall said.

“But if there are amoebas, which are parasites, maybe that’s going to cause long-term inflammation that will cause you diarrhoea and additional responses like a fever.”

Mobile testing kits a potential solution

Dr Lansbury Hall said the department could explore the use of mobile testing kits as a potential solution.

She said residents would need to receive basic training to use the kits effectively.

“Those mobile testing kits are terrific … they’re small, they’re like an esky and they have all sorts of equipment in them,” Dr Lansbury Hall said.

“So you might need to know how to use a new filter or not to leave it sitting in the sun for too long … none of those things are difficult.”

The idea was put to the department and Mr Isaachsen said in response the government required water to be tested in an accredited laboratory.

Very small community testing not in department’s guidelines

Mr Isaachsen said the state government’s Remote Service Level Guidelines did not require the department to undertake water quality testing in very small remote settlements.

But he noted that the Auditor General did recommend in its latest audit for the department to test for microbial water quality in all REMS communities.

7/9/21: Near Bidyadanga (Western Australia) – Dirty Water Despair

Dirty water despair (near Bidyadanga – Western Australia)

September 7 2021

https://nit.com.au/dirty-water-despair/

There are 44 communities with WA’s Department of Communities that don’t have access to microbial water testing, with some community members drinking from water supplies that haven’t been tested in more than a decade.

According to environmental health workers, the true figure of those without access to microbial water testing could be much higher.

In WA, there are 138 remote Aboriginal communities in the Remote Essential and Municipal Services program.

Forty-four of those communities, housing at least 500 people, don’t have access to microbial water testing, leaving them vulnerable to bugs such as E. coli and Naegleria.

Department of Communities assistant director-general, Paul Isaachsen, said in a statement to NIT that there is currently no mechanism for those communities to request government microbial water testing if they have concerns about their water.

But Chicky Clements, environmental health worker for Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation, said the true number of people drinking suspect water could be much higher than 500.

Since 2020, overcrowding and COVID-19 concerns have led some Aboriginal people in the Kimberley to move from larger communities back to very small outstations that were built before the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission was disbanded in 2005.

Outstations do not receive any water, sewerage, or power services from the Kimberley Remote Service Provider.

Drinking and bathing water in outstations is drawn from rivers or from bores sunk when the communities were established under ATSIC. Mr Clements said as far as he is aware, the bores and attached tanks have not been tested or cleaned since they were installed with ATSIC funding.

“There’s no testing until someone gets really sick; then they’ll have to try and trace back to where they were, what they did, or what they drank or ate,” Clements said.

“And if it does come back pinpointed to (the drinking water) that’s when they’ll do a test.”

Karajarri woman Fay Dean lives on Country at an outstation near Bidyadanga and drinks from a bore that was sunk when the station was established in the early 2000s.

She said in her 15 years on the station, her water supply hasn’t been tested once.

“I’m just risking it. There have been some bugs in there, and we’ve been told to flush the tank, but how would we get in there to push the sand out, if there’s sand and beetles and frogs in there?”

Ms Dean’s brother lives at Frazier Downs Station, where the tap water has been contaminated for at least 30 years. At Frazier Downs they bring in bottled water to avoid getting sick, but Ms Dean says she can’t afford that.

“I’d like to know, what am I drinking? Is this going to have after-effects as I get older?”

Mr Clements and other Aboriginal environmental health workers who did not want to be named said if they had access to field testing kits, they could get instant results on drinking water.

“If we had (water testing) kits, we could have done probably regular water testing on a lot of these little outstations, and that would at least indicate what’s in the water,” Mr Clements said. “But that sort of thing has the potential to cost big bucks.”

Aboriginal environmental health workers have told NIT there is no political will to fund the testing.

“(I think the Government’s attitude is it’s) probably better not to know what’s there and just wait until something happens (to those drinking the water),” Mr Clements said.

When Mr Clements asked a representative of the State Government whether Nirrumbuk could access field testing kits, he was told that testing water on outstations would create more issues than it was worth for the Government.

“Pretty much what I was told was, ‘well if you do that you can open up a can of worms. So the safest thing, the easiest thing is, if there’s an issue with the water, just boil it,’” Mr Clements said.

The State Government did not respond to questions about how many community members are living at outstations without water testing and how they could keep their water safe for consumption.

Water Minister Dave Kelly’s office said responsibility for water testing lies with the Department of Communities, and forwarded NIT’s request to Housing Minister John Carey.

Mr Carey did not respond before publication.

2021: Dulacca (Queensland) – Turbidity, Salinity

Western Downs towns like Dulacca have no clean water and residents are fed up

Sep 28 2021

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-28/drought-affected-dulucca-has-no-clean-water-decade-long-battle/100495204

Clean drinking water from the tap is a basic amenity not afforded to the small drought-affected community of Dulacca on Queensland’s Western Downs.

Instead, its water scheme supplies untreated water from a saline bore or turbid creek to the town’s 200 residents.

“We’re like the forgotten town,” resident Cherelle Manuel said.

On some days the water tastes muddy. On others it smells like “cat pee” and sulphur, she said.

‘Forgotten’ small towns

Ms Manuel relies on what little rainwater falls on the roof and she rations it so tightly she cannot even bathe in clean water.

More than half of Western Downs Regional Council towns do not have access to a potable water scheme.

Dulacca Hotel owner and Progress Association president Natalie Scotney said her community had asked the council for clean water since 2009.

“There is an enormous number of towns in the shire that don’t have potable water supply, and it’s not good enough,” she said.

The most recent petition to the council prompted an investigation into alternative water supplies for towns with non-potable schemes.

The report concluded potable water supply options for small communities such as Dulacca were too expensive.

It estimated a desalination plant at the local bore would cost an initial $1.5 million and carting water from the nearby town of Miles would cost nearly $350,000 a year.

Rainwater the viable option

Council last week voted to accept the report and its finding that rainwater tanks were the only viable option for these small townships.

“With such a small number of people connected to the water out there it would end up costing more for the region than what these people realise, and they would also be hit up for additional costs,” councillor and utilities spokesperson Peter Saxelby said.

Instead, the council has expanded an existing subsidy for rainwater tanks by offering a $2,000 rebate on tanks with more than 40,000 litres of capacity.

According to the council, the scheme added 3.2 million litres of additional water supply to the region in the last financial year.

2021 April: Changes to National Construction Code. Reductions in allowable limit of lead allowed in fittings

Push to reduce the amount of lead in drinking water by changing taps

April 26 2021

https://www.9news.com.au/national/lead-in-drinking-water-push-to-change-brass-taps-and-fittings/69631a86-faba-4e72-98df-c2dcc3f9279d

A push is on to remove a dangerous source of lead in our drinking water, with building authorities recommending that billions of dollars worth of taps and other plumbing be replaced.
While our drinking water is generally safe, there is a fear that poisonous lead may be leaching from brass fittings.
The Australian Building Codes Board is about to release a new draft National Construction Code, with a key change to the allowable amount of lead from fittings – reducing it from the current 6 per cent to 0.25 per cent, the standard already used in countries such as the US and Canada.
Macquarie University environmental scientist, Professor Mark Taylor, has been recommending the shift for years.
“Nearly all water is safe,” he told 9News.
“But there are occasions when certain waters from certain taps in certain locations contain a lead concentration which is in excess of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.”
Research conducted by Macquarie University, and revealed by 9News in 2016, found more than half of tap water samples taken from households in NSW contained lead.
And, one in 12 exceeded the maximum amount permitted by the water guidelines.
Plumbing and tap water fittings were identified as the major source. While the research was conducted in NSW, the same fittings are used across Australia.
“I think it’s a really important change because it removes any uncertainty about the quality of our drinking water coming out of our most commonly used water source which is the tap in our kitchen,” Professor Taylor says.
“There is no safe level of lead exposure and we should mitigate all possible sources where we can. Lead can cause neuro-cognitive problems.
“It’s particularly harmful to young children. It can delay puberty. It can affect their intellectual development. It can cause other problems such as ADHD or irritability. And exposure doesn’t go away.”
The draft National Construction Code will suggest phasing out high lead taps, mixers, water dispensers and valves over three years and replacing them with low lead versions.
But the low lead versions are more expensive and the cost to households could be $2.1 billion over a decade.
However, the health impacts from lead exposure could be as high as $5 billion over the same period.
Homeowners won’t be forced to change immediately, though. But, as they come to replace taps and other plumbing, the low lead fittings will eventually be the only option.
“It’s a contaminant we can deal with,” Professor Taylor said.
“It’s a contaminant that causes definitive harm and lasting harm. And, it’s a contaminant that we know how to address. It’s a problem that can be solved.”
In the meantime, the advice is – flush water from your taps in the morning for 30 seconds before drinking. Professor Taylor adding that, if you’re going to make one change: “Just replace the tap in the kitchen. That’s the most important.”

2019/23: York (Western Australia). pH

York (Western Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2019/20: York (Western Australia) 8.56pH (av)

2022/23: York (Western Australia) 8.72pH (av)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

2019/20: Wyalkatchem (Western Australia). pH

Wyalkatchem (Western Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2019/20: Wyalkatchem (Western Australia) 8.65pH (av)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

2019/23: Shackleton (Western Australia). pH

Shackleton (Western Australia) – pH (alkaline)

2019/20: Shackleton (Western Australia) 8.73pH (av)

2022/23: Shackleton (Western Australia) 8.99pH (av)

Based on the need to reduce corrosion and encrustation in pipes and fittings, the pH of
drinking water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.

New concrete tanks and cement-mortar lined pipes can significantly increase pH and
a value up to 9.2 may be tolerated, provided monitoring indicates no deterioration in
microbiological quality.

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of water. It is measured on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is alkaline, and less than 7 is acidic.

2019/20: Seabird (Western Australia). Total Dissolved Solids

Seabird – Western Australia – Total Dissolved Solids

2019/20: Seabird (Western Australia) Total Dissolved Solids 609mg/L (max), 605mg/L (mean)

GUIDELINE

“No specific health guideline value is provided for total dissolved solids (TDS), as there are no
health effects directly attributable to TDS. However for good palatability total dissolved solids
in drinking water should not exceed 600 mg/L.

Total dissolved solids (TDS) consist of inorganic salts and small amounts of organic matter that are dissolved in water. Clay particles, colloidal iron and manganese oxides and silica, fine enough to pass through a 0.45 micron filter membrane can also contribute to total dissolved solids.