Narrandera Shire Council was given an update on the state of the town’s water supply at last week’s monthly Council meeting, together with an announcement that Narrandera will acquire a water treatment plant to begin construction in early 2018.
Presented by the Council’s Water Sewer Engineering Officer Shane Squires, the presentation was a means of keeping the councillors in the loop about the state of Narrandera’s Drinking Water Management System (DWMS).
“Some of you would have been here when we started the system in 2014,” Mr Squires said.
“All water utilities are required to develop and adhere to a drinking water quality assurance scheme.
“The Drinking Water Management System consists of information for the safe supply of drinking water. It’s only about safety. It doesn’t account for taste or aesthetics.”
Narrandera’s water is currently sourced from two bores near the Murrumbidgee River.
The water is high in both iron and manganese and is slightly corrosive as a result.
The DWMS addresses the framework for the management of drinking water quality.
Mr Squires said the main points the Council was focussing on was chlorine dosing at 1.5 milligrams per litre, reservoir chlorine at levels of less than 0.5mg/L and reservoir integrity and security.
“We’re making sure the chlorine’s been dosed at the right level. We’re making these checks daily.”
According to Mr Squires, the job of checking chlorine levels is currently done manually by Council staff. It is tested twice a day at the plant and once a day at the reservoirs.
Narrandera Council’s water system has just finished an audit of its processes from the NSW Office of Water and is now looking to put the recommendations of the audit in place.
Mr Squires said that part of the audit was to look for contamination risk.
“The reservoirs were encountering problems with birds and vermin. That was the main contamination risk. Theoretically now there shouldn’t be any contamination risks.
“The other result was our chlorine levels weren’t perfect and the turbidity [discolouration] was present.
“In our case it’s caused by the iron in the water. If there’s high turbidity, you can’t guarantee there’s no contamination,” Mr Squires said.
When Mr Squires was asked about the viability of river water instead, he said that river water would “fix the iron issue and create ten more issues”.
“It’s much more complex,” he said.
The Narrandera Council will now act on the recommendations from the NSW Office of Water.
The recommendation is for a water treatment plant, planned to commence in early 2018.
The Council is also in the process of installing online chlorine monitoring equipment. The chlorine monitoring should be ready by Christmas.
“The conclusion of the audit was to install filters to remove turbidity and improve chlorine consistency – and hopefully taste,” Mr Squires said.