Blue water not a threat: officials
GOVERNMENT officials insisted yesterday that the shocking blue colour of the Dee River was not linked to pollution and that discharges from Mount Morgan’s former gold mine site posed no risk to Rockhampton’s drinking water supply.
A spokesman said concerns raised over the translucent blue/turquoise hue 18km downstream were unfounded.
“Despite the colour, water quality in the Dee River is actually improving,” he said, responding to questions posed by The Morning Bulletin.
The mines spokesman for the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation said the strange appearance was caused by a change in water chemistry when lower pH water released from the mine’s open cut dam merged with higher pH freshwater in the river.
He said the latest testing by an independent, nationally accredited lab was being reviewed by Biosecurity Queensland to confirm there were no threats to drinking water supplies, livestock or agriculture.
Yesterday the Bully reported the fears of river watchers and politicians who called for an urgent investigation into the “scary” blue water and a white precipitate visible on the river bed.
Capricorn Conservation Council co-ordinator Michael McCabe yesterday joined those expressing concerns and calling for greater transparency in the release of information.
But the government says there is nothing to fear and points out that mine water released from the treatment plant in Mount Morgan has to travel 420km down the Dee, Don and Dawson before reaching Rocky.
“Any possibility that Rockhampton’s water could be affected by water from the mine site is extremely remote,” the spokesman said.
More than three million litres of pit water is now being treated every day to empty the contaminated water in the pit.