Tongala water declared safe for drinking

By Riverine Herald


An advisory notice warning people in Tongala to boil their water before using it for drinking and food preparation has been lifted by Goulburn Valley Water in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services. 
Independent laboratory testing of water supply from the Tongala Water Treatment Plant has confirmed that water meets all requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 and the Safe Drinking Water Regulations 2015 and is safe to drink. 
The precautionary boil water notice was issued at 1.30am on Friday 1 March and was lifted at 3.15pm Sunday 3 March. 
The issue was caused by algae in the raw water supply. GVW confirmed that all algae was removed by the treatment process at all times, however this had affected effective filtration, which is required to remove other micro-organisms which ensures water is safe to drink. 
GVW operations and water quality teams worked around the clock to adapt the treatment process and to restore water quality in line with regulations. 
General manager of service delivery Daniel Flanagan said GVW staff worked across Friday and the weekend to ensure drinking water was available. 
“Independent testing has confirmed that the water is safe to drink – and it’s a great testament to the work of GVW staff that the boil water notice was lifted only two days after it was issued,” Mr Flanagan said. 
“We’d like to thank Tongala residents for their patience and understanding while we worked to resolve the issue. We understand it was an inconvenience and we apologise for that.” 
Water was also carted to large industrial customers in the region to ensure critical supply was available, and drinking water supplies were delivered to schools and other critical users. 
GVW staff will continue to closely monitor the Tongala treatment plant. 
Water can now be used for all drinking, cooking, washing and food preparation purposes, as well as other general use. 
Goulburn Valley Water uses SMS notifications to advise customers of any service interruption, fault or emergency that may affect them.

If you would like to register your mobile phone, call the customer accounts and services team on 1300 360 007 to link it to your account. 

March 1, 2.40pm: Water declared unfit for consumption

Goulburn Valley Water (GVW) has issued a notice for customers on the town water supply that they must boil their water before using it for drinking and food preparation.

GVW issued the advice on Friday morning in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services.

A statement from GVW said Tongala water supply system had been impacted by the presence of algae in the raw (untreated) water storage.

‘‘The plant had been offline while staff worked to rectify the issue and treated water storages have subsequently reduced to below 30 per cent,’’ the statement said.

‘‘We have been unable to treat the water and Goulburn Valley Water management has now made the call to send non-compliant water to town.

‘‘This means GVW is not able to guarantee that the water supplied to Tongala is of a quality fit for human consumption.’’

GVW customers must boil water prior to drinking, preparing beverages, washing and preparing food, preparing baby formula, brushing teeth and making ice.

To ensure water is safe for consumption:
■ Heat water until a continuous and rapid stream of air-bubbles is produced from the bottom of a pan or kettle (kettles with automatic shut-off switches are suitable);
■ Allow water to cool before use;
■ Store water in a clean, closed container for later use; and
■ Caution should be taken to prevent scalding from boiling water.
Unboiled water can be used for showering and bathing, flushing toilets, washing dishes and clothes and garden watering. Ensure water is not ingested while bathing.

Consumption of unboiled water may lead to diarrhoea, cramps, headaches or other gastro-like symptoms.

If you are concerned that you may have been affected by contaminated water contact your local doctor and advise them of this notice.

Infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and immuno-compromised people are particularly at risk.
Goulburn Valley Water are taking the following actions to resolve the problem:
■ Adjusting treatment requirements for the changing raw water; and
■ Increasing the level of chlorine in the water as a precaution. Goulburn Valley Water will advise customers in Tongala when water is fit for human consumption.