Statement in response to water contamination allegations

Byron Shire Council is aware of a video circulating in the community that claims that Byron Bay’s water supply is contaminated and could be causing health problems.

The information in this video is not true. The water supply in the Shire is clean and safe for drinking. Water is tested and monitored every week, according to the requirements set out by NSW Health. To suggest that water is contaminated is absolutely incorrect.

In relation to the video Council was invited to participate in an on-camera interview but declined. A statement responding to questions about the Water Services Australia report and allegations of contamination was supplied in December last year. No information has changed and Council stands by this statement. We have however increased reservoir inspections by drone in support of risk mitigation. Unfortunately the makers of the video chose not to include the full statement from Council.

The statement read:

Council is aware of the Water Services Australia Report and actually contributed to the report. Council’s schedule to replace roofs on the Wategos and Paterson Street reservoirs is overdue and, unfortunately, it has become very complex as a number of Telcos have infrastructure situated on the reservoirs and we are negotiating their removal.

Staff have been working with the Telcos for a number of years in relation to this issue. This problem is not just being experienced in the Byron Shire – it is a state-wide issue. These discussions are ongoing, and from Council’s perspective we would like to find a resolution. It is however complex and this is why the work has not been proceeded in the time that Council would prefer.

In the interim there were some temporary repair works completed on both reservoirs earlier in the year.

With respect to drinking water being at risk – Council would like to assure residents and visitors that drinking water is not contaminated and is perfectly safe to drink. Like all water from reservoirs in the Byron Shire, and the Northern Rivers, the water is tested and monitored on a weekly basis, as is required by NSW Health. Staff are also in regular contact with NSW Health and at no time has there been any suggestion or concern about the quality and safety of the drinking water from the Wategos or Paterson Street reservoirs.


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