7 August 2020

Far South Coast residents warned to boil their water

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Council worker Paul Lazarro taking water at temporary water settling plant at Upper Brogo.

Bega Valley Shire Council water and sewerage services operator Paul Lazarro sampling water for analysis at the temporary water settling plant at Upper Brogo. Photo: Supplied.

Residents of small communities in the Bega Valley are being warned to boil their water as council begins using water from the Brogo River to replenish reservoirs.

Bega Valley Shire Council and NSW Health introduced the boil water notice as a precautionary measure for the Brogo-Bermagui water supply system from 11 pm on Thursday, 6 August because the river water does not meet the required standards.

The move has been made following significant recent rainfall and in preparation for more rain this weekend.

READ ALSO Region awash with heavy rainfall this weekend

The boil water notice applies to the townships and localities of Quaama, Cobargo, Bermagui, Beauty Point, Fairhaven, Wallaga Lake, Wallaga Lake Heights, Wallaga Lake Koori Village and Akolele, and the trunk main customers in these areas.

It will stay in effect until further notice.

Council recommends that all water for consumption, food preparation, cleaning of teeth and ice making should be boiled before use. The water can then be allowed to cool, be stored in a clean container with lid and refrigerated.

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

The Brogo-Bermagui water supply system is unfiltered, with its water disinfected with chlorine only. The Brogo River is the main source of water for the system.

A temporary water settling plant was constructed in the catchment following the past summer’s bushfires and it has been used successfully to treat the water following two rainfall events that have occurred in recent weeks. This has prevented council from being required to issue boil water notices until now.

READ ALSO Laing O’Rourke wraps up bushfire clean-up

However, the rainfall event in late July had a significant impact on river water quality which meant the temporary water settling plant was not able to consistently produce the volume of water required to meet demand and keep town reservoirs full.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s director of assets and operations, Anthony McMahon, said that while council understands the inconvenience a boil water notice causes people, reservoirs have now reached a point where water must be resupplied from Brogo River without running it through the temporary settling plant in preparation for more rain this weekend.

“Water supply and quality has been maintained since the first rainfall event in mid-July through water sourced from Couria Creek, the temporary settling plant at Upper Brogo and existing water stored in town reservoirs,” said Mr McMahon.

“We will be working with NSW Health to lift the boil water notice as soon as possible.

“Moving forward, a water filtration plant is the solution for this type of event and we are in the process of designing a water filtration plant for construction in 2021.”

It is important to stress that water supplies in all other areas of the Bega Valley Shire are currently unaffected.

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