16 February 2024

UPDATED: Boil water alert for Yass Valley to remain in place for 'a few weeks'

| Claire Sams
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Hand holding a kettle being filled under the tap

Yass Valley Council is calling on residents to boil their water before using it. Photo: Chris Roe.

UPDATE 12:30 pm February 16: Yass Valley Council has told residents that the boil alert is expected to remain in place for up to several weeks.

“Attempts to treat this water failed to the required standards on 14 February, and a boil water alert was required,” the spokesperson said.

“Turbidity of the filtered water exceeded 1NTU and required a boil-water-alert. Turbidity is a surrogate for potential presence of chlorine-resistant pathogens, especially in an unprotected water catchment.”

Staff from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) are working with Council to ensure Yass’ water quality is restored.

Once the water quality is restored, the boil alert will then remain in force until the non-compliant water is flushed out – a process that can take “a few weeks”.

The spokesperson also told residents the water issues were expected to continue.

“Treatment issues were identified in the Yass Water Treatment Plant Upgrade Business Case for upgrades to improve redundancy and robustness of treatment processes to treat highly varying raw water quality,” the council spokesperson said.

“Current and other issues will be addressed in an upgraded plant. This will also take three to four years for completion.”

9:30 am February 15: Yass Valley residents are being told to boil their “unsafe” water.

“Recent rainfall and floods in Yass River catchment have caused problems with water treatment, making drinking water in the Yass Water Supply System that includes Yass, Murrumbateman, Bowning, and Binalong unsafe,” a Yass Valley Council spokesperson said on Wednesday evening (14 February).

Water quality has long been an issue in Yass Valley, with residents reporting brown, smelly water coming out of their taps for years.

“Yass Valley Council is working to fix the problem. This advice should be followed until further notice,” the council spokesperson said.

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The council spokesperson recommended that water being used for drinking or in food preparation should be brought to a rolling boil.

“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,” the spokesperson said.

The council spokesperson said tap water was safe for bathing, though residents should be careful not to swallow any.

“There is a potential risk if water is swallowed during washing and bathing,” they said.

“Parents and carers could consider a sponge bath for children as an alternative.”

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Bottled water or cool boiled water should be used for drinking, washing uncooked food (such as salad vegetables and fruit), making ice, cleaning teeth, gargling and pets’ drinking water.

Meanwhile, dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher, and children should take bottled water or cool boiled water to school.

Information on what different groups and businesses – such as schools, childcare centres, spas and restaurants – should do during a boil alert is available on NSW Health’s website.

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