Council fails its water standard

BARALABA residents will be compensated by Banana Shire Council after council breached its own standards of water service just after Christmas.

The council yesterday moved to give Baralaba residents on metered reticulated potable water services a credit of 10,000 litres accessible within the quarterly reading period and expiring in December.

The council had to issue a Boil Water notice to the community as a precautionary measure following detection of the potentially harmful E-coli bacteria in the town water supply.

The council's Environment and Community Services director Andrew Reid said council had breached its own water service standards.

“We don't have a clear way on how we penalise ourselves for that breach,” he said.

“That's a shot in the dark that people would use that amount of water (10,000 litres).”

A report tabled before the council stated Baralaba had an unmanned water treatment plant traditionally attended by operators once or twice a week. This meant there was some delay before operators could respond to changes in water quality and adjust chemical dosage rates.

During the past few months, operator attendance had been increased to “daily” to ensure any problems were identified and resolved, and treatment processes had been effective.

Initial treatment problems were the result of changes to water quality in the Dawson River starting with very low water levels in the weir, and then very high turbidity levels with the run of the river and flooding.

There had been some issues maintaining appropriate chlorine levels throughout the system, without providing consumers with excessive highly-chlorinated water.

The council has started preparation of a Drinking Water Quality Management Plan for the town water supplies.

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