Fires contaminate drinking supply
FOLLOWING last week's alert about the suitability of drinking water, Tenterfield Shire Council is reminding residents to continue to boil their water before use.
In a statement released by the council, residents are instructed to continue to follow the advice to boil water, issued in an alert on October 4, which will remain in place until further notice.
The statement said the current poor raw water quality was caused by contamination from recent bushfires.
The council said run-off of ash deposits during recent rain is being compounded by the continuation of grass fires to the west of Tenterfield over previous days, combined with the strong westerly winds depositing dust and ash over the surface of Tenterfield Dam.
Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty warned any further rainfall and wind will continue to affect the water quality.
"Council is working closely with NSW Health and DPIE Water to ensure water is of appropriate quality for the residents of Tenterfield,” Cr Petty said.
"Councillors and staff are very aware of the impost this has created for our community as we and our families, are part of the community and share with you in this plight.
"We ask that you continue to respect this alert and be particularly mindful of the potential affect unboiled drinking water may have on the elderly and the very young.”
Daily measuring of the turbidity of the water shows a change on a daily basis, and Cr Petty said it is considered a safer measure to continue the boil water alert instructions until such time as conditions return to some level of normality.
The statement said the council's filtration plant is unable to filter out all the minuscule particles of ash and they clump together in the water, with the risk of bacteria becoming lodged between the particles.
This means chlorine is unable to access and destroy any bacteria.
The council said as previously advised, water used for drinking or food preparation should be brought to a rolling boil to make it safe.
Kettles with automatic shut off switches can do this. Water should then be allowed to cool and stored in a clean container with a lid and refrigerated.
Bottled water or cool boiled water should be used for drinking, washing uncooked food such as salad vegetables and fruit, as well as for making ice, cleaning teeth, gargling and pet drinking water.
Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher. Children should take bottled water or cool boiled water to school.
The council also advises any residents who have received a delivery of water from the dam supply since October 4 to also follow the boil water alert advice to ensure safety whenever they are using the delivered water.