LOCAL people are shying away in increasing numbers from drinking once-pristine local water – and complaints about its quality keep flowing into the Mail since Busselton Water chlorinated its supply.
Though Busselton Water says that chlorination isn’t harmful to users – the quality and colour of the water is causing concern to many.
The water in the photo, opposite, came out of a tap in a Queen Street business last week.
It was meant to go into the office’s coffee machine.
And it wasn’t a once-off as the water quality was the same all week.
Busselton Water has told the Mail that it understands the concerns of the community and the issues associated with discoloured water.
However, it says it was expected during the chlorine implementation program and it is working hard to restore clear water conditions as soon as possible.
This was in response to a series of questions fired off by the Mail to Busselton Water.
“The best course of action when discoloured water is encountered is to continue to flush that area of the system to purge out the discoloured water and restore clear water conditions,” Busselton Water CEO Keith White said.
Busselton Water expected clear water conditions to start to be re-established in the next couple of weeks as chlorine moved through the reticulation and the flushing program began to wind down.
Mr White said introducing chlorine into a system that had not been chlorinated previously was always going to result in some aesthetic water issues, such as discoloured water events, no matter the approach taken.
HERE are some of the questions to Busselton Water and their answers:
Can you understand people being unhappy with the quality of water since chlorination? Busselton Water understands the concerns of the community and the issues associated with discoloured water.
Discoloured water events were expected during the chlorine implementation program and BW is working hard to restore clear water conditions as quickly as possible.
You have given reasons why the water is like it is, but when can the public reasonably expect the colour of the water to look normal?
The implementation program for chlorination included large scale reticulation flushing. This is to push the chlorine through the system and to flush out any biofilms that would sloth off after being disinfected with the chlorine.
The flushing program can however cause any sedimentation (such as iron particulates) that has accumulated in pipelines over time to become disturbed.
The best course of action when discoloured water is encountered is to continue to flush that area of the system to purge out the discoloured water and restore clear water conditions.
Discoloured water events were expected during the implementation program, however BW is working to restore clear water as quickly as possible through both programmed and remediation flushing of the system.
BW expects that clear water conditions will start to be re-established in the next couple of weeks as chlorine moves through the reticulation and the flushing program begins to wind down.
We’ve had reports of people’s fish in aquariums dying – why is this the case?
BW has provided advice to the community regarding the impact of chlorine on aquariums. When chlorinated water is added to fish tanks it can be detrimental to fish. Pet shops do stock de-chlorination solutions that can be added to fish tanks or alternatively if water is left for a couple of days in an open vessel before adding to the tank this will reduce the impact on aquarium life.
Has Busselton Water tried to chlorinate its water supplies too quickly – as opposed to gradually introducing it in smaller doses and gradually building up to the required amount?
Introducing chlorine into a system that has not been chlorinated previously, (and with some sections of the BW reticulation system being in place for decades without chlorine) is always going to result in some aesthetic water issues, such as discoloured water events, no matter the approach taken.
The current implementation program aimed to minimise the duration of discoloured water events to the community and to push the chlorine residual through as quickly as possible.
While this may cause an initial period of aesthetic water issues, it will over the longer term be the fastest way to re-establish the reticulation system to preferred conditions.
It has been suggested that perhaps Busselton Water did not have the expertise to introduce chlorination – how do you respond to that?
It should be noted that in terms of implementation what is being experienced is not unexpected. A program plan was developed to minimise the time of potential aesthetic water events.
A gradual increase approach would create a longer period of ‘reticulation reaction’ and create taste, odour and discoloured water concerns over a longer period.
Those suggesting this need to contact BW to gain more insight into this technical issue. BW has used a number of independent contractors and consultants to guide the chlorination implementation program. All parties involved hold relevant qualifications and are held in high regard within the water industry.
Is any outside assistance being sought to try and rectify the current problem?
No added resources are being used beyond normal operations, including day to day exchanges with BW’s consultants.
Has chlorine gone through the filters?
Chlorine is added to the treatment process as a microbiological disinfectant and it is added after filtration. By adding chlorine after filtration this reduces the amount of chlorine that is required as the water has already been aerated and filtered to reduce the amount of iron in the water. After filtration the water clarity is at its highest (as the majority of the iron has been removed) and chlorine works the most effectively when the water is as clear as possible.
• For the full responses go online to busseltonmail.com.au