A brid takes a drink from a leaking tap
A brid takes a drink from a leaking tap Paul Donaldson BUN190217DRY1

ABC report on Grafton's water quality incorrect: CVC

UPDATE 12:30: Clarence Valley Council have issued an official response to the claims made in the ABC article, stating that council has always been open about water quality issues. 

Clarence Valley Council works and civil director, Troy Anderson, said the information provided to the ABC saying Grafton had 10 boil water alerts since 2006 was incorrect.

"There have been no boil water alerts for Grafton in that time - none," he said. "The last time we are aware of where Grafton had a boil water alert was in 1967 when a water main burst during flooding.  

"There have been alerts for some areas outside of Grafton, but there have been none since 2013 when re-chlorination started on the Lower Clarence supply.  

"A number of these related to stand-alone water supplies that were not connected to the main Clarence Valley water supply.  

"One related to the discovery of a live possum in the reservoir at Maclean and another  the discovery of a dead snake in the Copmanhurst reservoir. These were a number of years ago and in each case council has taken action to prevent similar incidents from recurring.

  "Additional treatment barriers would not have prevented any of the boil water alerts that have occurred as re-contamination occurred after the treatment process.  

"We note from NSW Health publications there have been no reported cryptosporidium outbreaks from water supplies anywhere in NSW, however it has been identified as a risk.  

"When council prepared its drinking water management plan in 2014 the cryptosporidium risk, as outlined by NSW Health, was identified. Council has included $2.7m in this year's budget for additional treatment barriers primarily to address this risk.  

"Council has been completely open about all water quality issues - as it needs to be. All incidents, the reasons for them and the measures put in place are published online at www.riskedge.com.au/incident-register  

"People should have no concerns about the quality of the Clarence Valley water supply.   "

We do weekly testing and immediately notify the public of any issues.  

"It should also be noted the ABC article reported the water supply was taken from the Clarence River. That is not correct. We take our supply from the Nymboida River."  

UPDATE 11.30AM: RISK Edge has detailed accounts of all water issues in the Clarence Valley from 2009 to 2015.

Issues range from village operators checking on plants after power outages, operational issues and incidents involving the transportation of chlorine. There has been no report of  cryptosporidium in the Clarence Valley's water system recorded on Risk Edge. 

Risk Edge does detail a boil-water alert in Maclean after the discovery of E Coli. 

"Due to the distance from the chloramination point the town historically had very low chlorine residuals," the report said.

"Following an E. coli detection during routine sampling, around 200 residents in a very defined area of the top part of Maclean fed by the "Lookout Reservoir" were advised to boil water from 21st December 2012 until 7th January 2013." 

IUPDATE 9AM: CLARENCE Valley Council have disputed the claims made by ABC saying the information provided by NSW Heath is incorrect.

There has not been a boil-water alert issued in Grafton since 1967 when there was an issue during a flood. 


BEFORE: Grafton has made it onto the list of five most contaminated drinking water in NSW, according to documents obtained by the ABC.

Grafton, Kempsey, Scone, Jindabyne and Merimbula have been cited at the five worst performing areas, with repeated instances of contamination that triggered potential health risks.

According to the ABC report, Grafton's population of 40,000 are at risk from cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes gastrointestinal illness.

On 10 different occasions since 2006, residents have had to boil water to help manage the risks of the water supply system.

The ABC has reported the documents cite faecal contamination from cattle and even swimmers, as a source of the parasite.

The Daily Examiner is seeking comment from NSW Health authorities and Clarence Valley Council.

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