The Fitzroy River just after 6.30am on February 2 as the Rockhampton region waits for it to peak. The River reached 8.52 metres at 4pm February 1 and the Bureau of Meteorology was forecasting a peak of 8.7 metres on February 2. Photo taken from across the road of The Bulletin office at 162-164 Quay St.
The Fitzroy River just after 6.30am on February 2 as the Rockhampton region waits for it to peak. The River reached 8.52 metres at 4pm February 1 and the Bureau of Meteorology was forecasting a peak of 8.7 metres on February 2. Photo taken from across the road of The Bulletin office at 162-164 Quay St. Kerri-Anne Mesner

Very high levels of organic matter causes murky tap water

FITZROY River Water wishes to advise the public that the recent changes to the aesthetic qualities of the drinking water including taste, odour and colour are due to the current very high levels of dissolved organic matter in the Fitzroy River.

Residents have taken to social media in the past two days, complaining about the smell, colour and taste of water coming out of their taps.

One woman said she had new born being bottle fed and was going to buy filtered water as she did not want to risk her child's health.

Another said they new a few people who were sick after drinking the murky tap water.

A statement issued by Rockhampton Regional Council stated the intense rainfall event associated with ex-Tropical Cyclone has led to very large quantities of silt and natural organic matter such as decaying vegetation being flushed into the Fitzroy River within a very short timeframe leading to much higher than normal levels of dissolved organic matter.

 

"The Glenmore Water Treatment Plant treatment processes have been adjusted to attempt to remove as much of this dissolved organic material as possible, however, the current high flow conditions lead to relatively rapid changes in raw water quality as water arrives from different upstream locations, making complete removal of this material more difficult.

 

"The current changes to taste, odour and colour do not represent a health risk to the public and FRW wishes to advise that the drinking water currently meets all health guideline values according to the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

"However, FRW understands that these changed aesthetic may make the water less acceptable to drink."

In the coming days FRW expects that with further reductions in river flow, the quality of the raw water will improve quickly and return to normal levels.

Cr Glenda Mather with a sample of Fitzroy River water during another period where the region has discolouration issues.
Cr Glenda Mather with a sample of Fitzroy River water during another period where the region has discolouration issues. Sharyn O'Neill


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