FAQs

My water has a strong chlorine taste…
My water has a disagreeable taste, odour and/or smell..
What chemicals are added to the water supply?
How do I find out about the water quality in the supply system?
My water leaves a stain when it is boiled
My water is discoloured
How do I tell where the cause is?
What is Potable Water?
Who is a “Water Supply By Agreement” customer?

 

My water has a strong chlorine taste…

All drinking water supplies are disinfected with chlorine. The addition of chlorine ensures that any pathogens (disease causing agents) are killed and that the water is safe to drink.
The reticulation/pipe work system is regularly monitored to ensure that appropriate chlorine levels are present to ensure there is disinfection downstream of the treatment plant and safe water is delivered to the customer’s tap.

Chlorine begins to be noticeable to average persons at levels greater than 0.6 mg/L. The chlorine residual within the supply can dissipate over time and distance. To try to maintain some chlorine at the extremities of, the reticulation system, the dosage at the treatment plant is often in excess of 0.6 mg/L. As excessive chlorine may cause taste and odour problems, the dosage is carefully managed.

Customers located near the treatment source will be supplied with water that has higher levels of chlorine and could be more susceptible to the taste and smell of chlorine than those customers that are located further down the system. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines have an upper limit of 5 mg/L.

South Gippsland Water is acutely aware that chlorine may degrade the taste and smell of water. The need for good tasting water is therefore carefully balanced against the need to guarantee water safety.

  • If your water has a strong chlorine odour or taste you can fill a large clean jug and let stand overnight. This will usually be enough time for the chlorine to dissipate.

 

My water has a disagreeable taste, odour and/or smell…

Many factors may contribute to water taste, smell and odour problems. The significant factors are algae and chlorine.
Algae often grow in water storages particularly over the hotter summer months. As the bloom recedes and the algae die off they will release chemical substances into the water that may cause a disagreeable taste and odour.
South Gippsland Water controls potential algae problems by adopting the following management approaches:

  • Algae prevention. South Gippsland Water regularly monitors water storages for the presence of algae. If algae are detected in high numbers, if possible, the affected water storage will be taken off line.
  • Water Treatment. Water treatment plants, treat water by a filtering process that will remove the majority of sediments and some taste and odour compounds

 

What chemicals are added to the water supply?

All potable drinking water supplies are treated to ensure that the water is safe and aesthetically pleasing. Chemicals are added to facilitate the treatment process.

Below is an overview of the typical chemicals added during water treatment. For more detail on what specific chemicals are added to each treatment facility please view the Annual Drinking Water Quality Report.

  • Small quantities of Alum (Aluminium Sulphate) are added to the raw water during the treatment process. This chemical causes pollutants such as bacteria and sediments to flocculate into larger clumps that can be extracted by a clarification / filtration process. In some cases an additional chemical known as a polymer is used to assist the alum in the flocculation process.
  • An essential part of the treatment process involves the addition of a disinfecting agent to kill off any remaining bacteria that are not extracted during the filtration process. South Gippsland Water uses chlorine-based chemicals such as chlorine gas or sodium hypochlorite to disinfect the water. The amount of chlorines added is equivalent to less than half a cup in an average -sized backyard swimming pool. If too much chlorine is added the taste and odour of the water may be degraded and so this process is carefully managed.
  • Where water has to travel over long distances, ammonia is added to create chemicals (chloramines) which have superior disinfection characteristics.
  • The addition of treatment chemicals alters the pH of the water. Lime or Soda ash is added as a final step of the treatment process to restore the pH balance.

 

How do I find out about the water quality in the supply system?

South Gippsland Water publishes monthly water quality testing results and an annual report on water quality. These can be viewed on the Water Quality page.

 

My water leaves a stain when it is boiled

Many of the catchments in South Gippsland contain naturally occurring minerals such as iron, calcium and manganese. When the water is boiled the water will evaporate and leave a precipitation of mineral salts. These minerals may cause scale to accumulate in kettles and hot water services. This is not a concern from a health perspective. For further information, visit the Water Quality page or Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

 

My water is discoloured

Customers served by treated water supplies should receive water that is aesthetically pleasing and consistent in quality. Water may become discoloured from disturbance of sediment in the supply system, or from corroding internal piping. Flushing the pipe can clear sediment and discoloration. South Gippsland Water undertakes a regular flushing program in all of its systems to prevent sediment build up. Private plumbing can also be flushed if water is a problem by running your taps on a high flow rate for a short period. Advice from professional plumbers should also be sought if internal plumbing is thought to be the cause.

 

How do I tell where the cause is?

To determine the source of discolouration try the following steps:

  • Take two white containers (white ice-cream containers are perfect).
  • Turn on the tap closest to the meter and fill one container. Leave the tap running for a few minutes then fill the other container.
  • If the first sample is discoloured and the later sample is clear, the piping between the water main and the meter may be the cause. If there is no difference, the water supply is the likely cause. If this is the case, please contact us – 5682 0444.
  • Apply the same procedure on the tap furthest away from the meter, normally a back yard tap. If the water from the tap closest to the meter is clean and the water from the back yard tap is not, it is likely the internal plumbing is the cause and a plumber will be able to advise of a solution such as pipe replacement.

 

What is Potable Water?

Water that is fit for drinking purposes is termed “potable”. Drinking water must meet a number of strict health and aesthetic quality standards as specified in the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003. The region is serviced with a number of water treatment plants and monitoring is undertaken to ensure this standard is maintained at all times.

 

Who is a “Water Supply By Agreement” customer?

Customers that do not have access to a water reticulation main are provided a water service in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in a Water Supply Agreement. Water Supply By Agreement customers are generally those customers on rural pipelines or customers on the outskirts of an urban water supply district.
Customers are asked to enter into a Water Supply By Agreement contract if the pressure and or quality of water supplied cannot be guaranteed. As such Water Supply By Agreement customers will be supplied with either potable (drinking) or non-potable (non-drinking) water and separate agreements will be issued depending on the type of water supply the customers receive.