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Coliban Water has released a statement informing communities across the Coliban Water region that the quality of drinking water has been impacted by three years of high rainfall, flooding and the current warm weather.

Customers from communities sourcing water from the Murray, Goulburn and Campaspe Rivers may have noticed a different taste or odour in their drinking water. However, there are no health risks posed from the change in water quality.

Coliban Water Chief Officer Assets and Operations, Danny McLean, said that at this time of year, with generally warmer temperatures and changing conditions in our rivers, streams and water storages, the job of treating and delivering safe drinking water can be more challenging.

“This summer, off the back of wet conditions and flooding, it’s even more difficult. The floods have seen levels of blue-green algae and other naturally-occurring bacteria that create taste and odour issues increase in our rivers,” Mr McLean said. 

“Our water treatment plants are working harder and taking longer to deliver the same quality product, and still meet increased customer demand for water during the summer months.”

Mr McLean said Coliban Water was aware of reports from customers in Echuca and some other communities of a distinct taste or earthy odour to the drinking water.

“We do appreciate this change is unpleasant for some customers. However, their drinking water remains safe and meets all health-based Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,” Mr McLean said.

“Our experts continue to revise and adjust treatment processes to suit local conditions and the poor quality of the raw water entering our treatment plants.”

The process of treating raw water sourced from rivers and turning it into a trusted drinking water supply is complex, and a number of naturally occurring substances can impact the water supply, even in very small amounts. 

“Elevated levels of the naturally-occurring compound geosmin are currently being detected in Echuca as part of our routine testing procedures,” Mr McLean said.

“While geosmin doesn’t impact the safety of drinking water, even at a concentration of just a 50 billionth of a part per litre, it can cause an earthy or musty odour.  

“While we’ve adjusted our treatment process to remove as much of the geosmin compound as possible, the issue could persist until the quality of the raw water we are treating improves.”

Mr McLean said Coliban Water wants to keep their customers informed about the quality of their drinking water. You can find more information here.

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