If you notice water discolouration in your home, we suggest you wait an hour or two then check that the water from your front tap (nearest to the water meter) is clear. If it is clear, go to the tap at the furthest point from your water meter (usually the garden tap in the backyard) and run the water for a few minutes until it also runs clear. If the water coming into your front tap is not clear contact Council and we can arrange flushing of the water mains in the local area. While flushing is being undertaken, customers can experience very dirty water, however this will clear shortly afterwards.
Council has approximately 300 kilometres of water mains, 9 water pump stations and 12 water reservoirs, so we are unable to monitor them all at the same time, so we do rely on residents to advise us of any severe or ongoing discolouration to the water supply in order to take action in the immediate area.
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The flushing process consists of cleaning the interior of the water mains by sending a rapid flow of water through the main. This is known as scouring. By flushing the water under higher release pressure through the mains, the build-up of sediment will be dislodged. Some slight discolouration of the water supply may occur after mains flushing in the immediate area, but this will quickly disperse after running a tap for a short period of time.
Council will notify residents of any planned scouring occurring. If you experience dirty, or discoloured water after a scheduled clean, try running the outside tap for 1 to 5 minutes until the water clears.
Residents living in areas furthest away from the nearest reservoir, or at the end of a street, may experience discolouration more frequently than others. This is because the water has further to travel and this allows heavier particles to settle out of the water and become visible. Weekenders or untenanted houses in any area may also experience discolouration when first turning on a tap after a period of time without using water at the home.
Discolouration can also be caused by old household connections as well as certain types of pipes. For example discolouration will occur more often in houses with galvanised water pipes. Galvanised pipes are no longer used in homes, with copper - or more recently polyethylene pipes have become the norm. Anyone who experiences regular water discolouration and has galvanised water pipes in their home may consider replacing them and should seek further advice and assistance from a local plumber.
Council is constantly testing the quality of drinking water in our area to ensure it complies with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, administered by NSW Health. Generally dirty water is not a hazard to health, although it may appear unpleasant.
Water that is milky or white in colour is the result of small air bubbles within the water. This is usually due to air becoming trapped in the pipes - perhaps after the repair of a broken water main. This water is harmless and if left in a container on the bench, the air will quickly dissipate and the water will become clear. It will not stain your washing.
Discolouration of the water supply by materials such as iron and/or manganese may cause a rust coloured stain on your clothing and linen while washing. If you notice a discolouration in the water from your household taps, don't use your washing machine until the water is clear.
If your property, including clothes, household furniture or fittings, has been damaged by a dirty water (water discolouration) event, Council will consider, on application, requests to clean, replace or repair the damaged items. Council will attempt to have the items cleaned the items in the first instance.