“OVER the past week we have had quite a few letters about the chlorinated water,” Busselton Water’s customer services manager Julie Rawlings said.
“People are reporting green/brown, cloudy water in addition to the change in taste.
“Is there any reason for the colour change and can people expect the taste to improve at all?
“Will the chlorine levels in the water pipes fluctuate?
“Busselton Water would like to reiterate why it is chlorinating the water supply.
“Chlorination has been introduced as a result of the continual detection of microbiological organisms in the drinking water called Naegleria Lovaniensis.
“This organism is not harmful to humans however, there are organisms within the Naegleria family that are, in particular Naegleria Fowleri. Naegleria Fowleri is a very serious pathogen as it can cause a rare but fatal condition called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM).
“Busselton’s warm water (about 35 degrees) and long pipe network is the preferred environment for Naegleria and the growth of other harmful organisms. The Ultra Violet (UV) disinfection system, used prior to chlorination, only disinfected the water as it travelled through the UV system as the water left the water treatment plant.
“This meant that if there was a cross connection between private bores, rainwater supply systems and drinking water pipes; or a mains break, there was no protection in the lengthy network and pathogens can quite easily enter the system. Chlorine is used as a disinfectant by water providers throughout the world and is the best assessed option for Busselton’s water supply to provide a disinfectant ‘residual’ throughout the network.
“Chlorine decays as it travels through the network (there are about 300kms of pipes in Busselton) Busselton Water adds about 1.0 mg/L at its water treatment plant (less than one fifth of the maximum permissible under Australian standards) aiming for a residual of 0.5 mg/L throughout the network. This is adequate to provide the protection needed for public safety.
“A comprehensive flushing program is currently being undertaken by Busselton Water staff to help push the chlorine through the reticulation system. Initial flushing may cause existing sediment build up in the pipes to be disturbed and this may cause some discoloured water.
“The introduction of chlorine will also disinfect the pipe network. Non-chlorinated supplies such as Busselton can have small amounts of biofilm growing inside pipes. This is normal and is not a health risk. As chlorine is introduced these biofilms will die and can come away from pipes, and this may also cause discoloured water, as it has in some areas. After initial commissioning, discolouration events are expected to decrease.
“Residences with older internal pipework may also experience discoloured water issues, as internal pipework is disinfected for the first time. Running your taps on full open can assist to flush through any discoloured water. The flushed water can be captured and used on the garden.
“Frequent sampling, monitoring and flushing of the water supply is being undertaken to ensure that during the transition phase to full time chlorination disruption to residents is minimised.
“If however, customers experience discoloured water and internal flushing does not remedy the problem please contact Busselton Water on 9781 0500.”