Valley water tank charge

HOMEOWNERS in the Clarence Valley who have paid thousands of dollars to install a rainwater tank may have to reach into their pocket once again to ensure their collected water supply does not contaminate town water.

Clarence Valley Council has moved to prevent the possibility of stored water being siphoned from the tanks back into the town water supply by making the purchase and registration of a backflow prevention device compulsory.

Consumers will have to pay $73 for the device, but only those with rainwater tanks connected to the town water supply will be required to purchase one.

The cost has been factored into recent development applications which include the now mandatory rainwater tanks.

Larger water consumers who are deemed to be a higher risk of contaminating the town water supply will have to pay an additional charge to register the device and have it tested every 12 months by a plumber.

At its monthly ordinary meeting on Tuesday, council voted to adopt the requirements for backflow prevention as prescribed by the latest draft of the NSW Plumbing Code, but the decision wasn't unanimous.

Councillor Kerry Lloyd spoke out against the additional charges and proposed council oppose the legislation that enforced them.

"I believe people should be rewarded for putting in rainwater tanks and trying in some way to save water," he said.

But with the legislation already passed, Cr Lloyd's dissatisfaction with the charge was viewed as 'shutting the gate after the horse had bolted', leaving the remaining councillors to vote in favour of the backflow requirements.

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