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Uralla's 'do not drink' alert continues alongside investigations


Uralla Shire Mayor Mick Pearce, left, Uralla Foodworks Manager Annette Ryan and Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall with some of the bottled water which has been delivered to town for local residents today.

Uralla Shire Council said it has made significant progress in reducing the arsenic concentrations in the town water supply.

General Manager David Aber advised that significant progress has been made to optimise treatment plant processes.

"Initial test results show a capacity for significant reduction in the arsenic concentrations," he said.

Further tests over the next couple of days will be carried out to confirm these results prior to the Council confirming success.

“We have tracked the source of arsenic back from the offtake and further up the creek and tributaries and identified that the most likely source of the arsenic is from springs feeding the streams entering Kentucky Dam," Mr Aber said.

"Elevated levels have been measured in the upper waters of the storage.

"The bottled water alert will remain in place until we are confident that the supply meets the water supply guidelines of less than 0.01mg/L. At this time there is no estimate for lifting the alert."

Mr Aber also stated that Uralla Shire Council are also able to confirm the following:

  1. The town water supply is still considered safe for pets and stock to drink.

  2. Rural residents on tank supplies who have purchased water from the Uralla system are welcome to collect bottled water use it for drinking and food preparation. No testing can be provided and consequently we are asking them to use bottled water and follow the “Do not Drink Alert” as a precautionary measure.

  3. Bottled water is now being made available from the Invergowrie store.

  4. Council is monitoring the logistics of bottled water supply to ensure that sufficient stocks are at hand.

The town water supply is safe to use for hand washing, showering, bathing, washing clothes, in the garden, for consumption by pets and washing dishes.

It is recommended, as a precautionary measure, that bottled water be used for drinking, food preparation, making ice, cleaning teeth and gargling.

Mr Aber advised that health effects are very unlikely at the concentration present in Uralla’s drinking water. “The patience of our local business owners is very much appreciated and especially those who have volunteered to assist us with the distribution of water," he added.

"Please call in to Uralla and have a cup of coffee and enjoy their friendly service over the weekend as it has not been easy for the Uralla businesses over the last couple of days."

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