Avoiding boil water notice took truck-loads of effort

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A "mammoth" water carting operation following heavy rainfall earlier this year kept the northern parts of the shire supplied with drinking water.

As water levels in creeks and rivers return to normal, Bega Valley Shire Council has revealed how staff worked around the clock to avoid issuing a boil water notice after the last flood event.

BVSC water and sewerage services manager Chris Best said it was "a mammoth team effort" that kept up supplies of clean drinking water for the shire's northern residents.

Between March 24 and April 3, half a million litres of drinking water was carted from Yellow Pinch dam near Merimbula to the Brogo-Bermagui supply.

"This came at a significant financial burden, with daily costs of up to $15,000 to keep the Brogo-Bermagui system supplied with clean water," Mr Best said.

"As an additional measure, we announced Level 4 water restrictions for our northern customers to ensure there was enough clean water for everyone.

"It was great so many in the community supported responsible water usage during this time, and as a result of this support we were able to lift restrictions without issuing a boil water notice."

Mr Best said that anyone living in the part of the shire utilising the Brogo-Bermagui water supply would be aware of the inconvenience that follows heavy rain.

"The usual process is for us to issue a precautionary boil water notice as catchment runoff muddies the water at the point where we pump from the Brogo River," he said.

"After the Black Summer bushfires decimated bushland around the catchment, we knew any major rainfall in the area would lead to a prolonged boil water period unless an alternative approach was taken.

"With the forecast of severe weather in late March, we chose to focus our efforts on carting clean water from the shire's south to feed the northern system until water conditions improved.

"Our operations and treatment teams stepped up, working 12 and 17-hour days while a major water carting and monitoring exercise got underway."

Mr Best added that while council's operations team was carting 12 truckloads of water each day, staff at the temporary Brogo Water Treatment Plant "worked around the clock, monitoring turbidity levels in the catchment until it was safe to pass through the settling plant, ready for chlorination".

"A new treatment and filtration plant is on its way, with state government funding secured and plans in place for building to commence August 2021.

"Once in place, this plant will all but guarantee that boil water notices and restrictions after heavy rain will be a thing of the past."

This story Avoiding boil water notice took truck-loads of effort first appeared on Bega District News.