Water runs clear in shire’s north: Bega Valley

Senior treatment plant operator, Rob Jones with a sample of river water cleared using a new sediment reduction process.
Senior treatment plant operator, Rob Jones with a sample of river water cleared using a new sediment reduction process

It was an all too common notice given to the shire’s northern residents: after heavy rain, boil your tap water.

Northern residents can now enjoy crystal clear water from their taps thanks to a new process successfully trialled at the Brogo Water Treatment Plant.

Council’s Manager of Water and Sewerage Services, Chris Best, said the treatment process uses some clever science to give much improved water clarity.

“Customers connected to our northern supply have long had to live with the inconvenience of boiling their water following heavy rainfall,” Mr Best said.

“The Brogo River is the source from where we pump water into the northern supply network, and after heavy rain it can get murky and turbid.

“Until now, the only solution has been to advise the boiling of water. This can be for a week or more after heavy rain, making it frustrating for affected residents.

“Recent heavy rain gave us the opportunity to test a temporary new treatment process in a challenging environment and we are very happy to say that we didn’t need to issue a boil water notice.”

Mr Best said the state government had given a quarter of the funds required to introduce the new process following the Black Summer bushfires.

“It starts with regular testing of water from Brogo River; at times following rainfall this can be tested every 90 minutes until we see a marked decrease in sediment.

“We then conduct laboratory tests of these samples, treating them with Aluminium Chloralhydrate and Polyelectrolytes to change the electrical charge of the particles, which causes them to clump together.

“The heavier clumps, or flocs, then settle much faster, leaving the water clear and ready for chlorination.

“Additional works on the Brogo site for a new water treatment plant fully-funded by the NSW Government’s Safe and Secure Water Program are imminent, giving us a new filtration step to further improve the quality and taste of water.

“Our commitment is to deliver improved water quality throughout the shire, and further state government support has given a 25% funding boost to identify a site and design for a new water treatment and filtration plant in Yellow Pinch.

“This comes as a fully-funded state government project to develop a new water treatment plant in Bega moves us closer to bringing the shire’s water supply in line with national standards over coming years.” Mr Best said.

For more information on Council’s water treatment processes, go to the Water Supply Services webpage.

All projects are funded through the NSW Government Safe and Secure Water Program.

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