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Email Link   Drinking Water Quality

Good enough to bottle

The quality of Tweed’s drinking water is equal to the best bottled water in the world.

While bottled water is regulated as a packaged food product by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the regulation of our tap water is even more stringent.

The Public Health Act and Regulation requires our water quality assurance program to comply with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. This means we test our tap water every week for a vast range of chemical and microbiological particles, ensuring that it is always safe to drink.

Our own NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) accredited Tweed Laboratory Centre does the testing for Council.

Why our tap water is better than the bottled variety

Tap water from the reticulated water supply in the Tweed is treated at one of our water treatment plants prior to reaching your home.

Our Bray Park Water Treatment Plant is considered state-of-the-art and regularly piques interest from foreign water authorities, resulting in a steady flow of study tours of the Murwillumbah facility. The immersed membrane ultra-filtration facility features the latest membrane technology, providing a greater than 99.9 per cent level of filtration (removing 99.99 per cent of suspended solids, bacteria and parasites (Cryptosporidium and Giardia) and particle-bonded viruses).

We also have water treatment plants at the villages of Tyalgum and Uki.

Due to our water treatment regime and weekly testing, you can always rely on the quality of our water. In comparison, the quality of bottled water can be highly variable, depending on where it comes from.

What’s in our water?

Tweed tap water has a lower salt and mineral content than bottled water but a higher calcium content (again, it varies depending on where the bottled water comes from).

We add fluoride to help protect our children’s teeth. According to the Dental Association of Australia there has been a rise in childhood dental decay. This might be a coincidence but it might be due to the increased consumption of bottled water, which usually does not contain fluoride.

How much will you pay?

If you’re buying bottled water, you’re paying up to 2000 more for it than for Tweed tap water.

A 600mL bottle of water could cost as much as $3.50; you can buy 1000 litres of Tweed tap water for $2.96.

Even if you buy your bottled water in bulk and get a bargain price of $1.50 a litre, you’re still paying 730 times more than what Council charges.

What’s the real cost?

It takes one litre of water to produce a 500mL bottle of water.

Council charges a cost-recovery price for its water.

How we ensure high-quality drinking water

Tweed Shire Council provides high-quality drinking water that consistently meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (external link) and regulatory requirements, as well as our customers expectations. To achieve this, we:
  • Manage water quality throughout the supply chain from the water catchment areas to our customers
  • Use a risk-based approach where potential threats to water quality are identified and managed
  • Regularly test and report on the quality of drinking water
  • Develop appropriate contingency plans and incident response capability to deal with incidents
  • Regularly review maintenance and asset management programs.

If, at any time, you feel you have become unwell as a result of drinking Tweed water please contact Tweed Shire Council immediately. Council has a protocol to minimise any health risk from our drinking water supply which includes contacting all relevant authorities, including the Department of Health.

Fluoride

It is NSW Health policy to add fluoride to drinking water, mainly to prevent tooth decay. Consistent with this policy, Council has added fluoride to the Tweed's main water supply since 1976. However, Council's two small village water supplies at Tyalgum and Uki are not fluoridated due to their small size.

The addition of fluoride is regulated via the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act, Regulation and Code of Practice. These documents and some useful factsheets can be found on the NSW Health website (external link).

Further information about fluoride can be found on the National Health and Medical Research Council (external link) website.

Boil-Water Alert

If there is a concern that the water supply has been contaminated, the Tweed Shire Council in conjunction with NSW Department of Health, will issue a Boil-Water Alert.

Boiling your water will kill disease-causing organisms.

If a Boil-Water Alert is issued, make sure that drinking water is boiled for at least three minutes. Refrigerate the water after boiling.

Uki and Tyalgum Water Quality

During heavy rain, raw water turbidity creates water treatment inefficiencies and the Uki Water Treatment Plant is switched off until the raw water quality becomes suitable for treatment again. Similar problems occur at times of high algae counts in the raw water.

When this happens, water from the Bray Park supply is tankered in to the reservoirs at Uki and/or Tyalgum. Residents may notice a different taste in the water because of the slight difference in raw water supply quality and the treatment processes.

If we need to tanker in water for a long time, Council may implement water restrictions to reduce consumption. When this happens, water carters are no longer permitted to extract water from the Uki supply.

Changes in water quality can result in a change of odour, taste, colour or hardness. For further details, click on the following water quality symptoms:

Chlorine, Bleach, Chemical, or Medicinal Taste/Odour
Sulphurous, Decayed, or Sewage-like Taste/Odour
Musty, Mouldy, Earthy, Grassy or Fishy Taste/Odour
Petroleum, Gasoline, Turpentine, Fuel-like or Solvent-like Odour
Metallic taste
Other Tastes/Odours
Milky, White or Cloudy Water
Brown, Red, Orange or Yellow Water
Green stains or blue water
White particles
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