COOBER PEDY TAP WATER IDEAL FOR SWIMMING

Coober Pedy residents complaining of both stagnant-smelling and over-chlorinated tap water since the weekend of 6/7 January 2017 have taken to testing their own water before letting their children near it or using it themselves, and alternatively buying commercial drinking water from a number of the town’s retail outlets.People have also complained of sore eyes, skin rashes, a strange cough and even chest pains, coinciding with the strong smell of chlorine coming out of the taps at Coober Pedy on alternate days for nearly three weeks now. With South Australia in the grip of a serious heat wave Coober Pedy parents have becoming more vocal.

COOBER PEDY TAP WATER IDEAL FOR SWIMMING – CHLORINE OVER THE TOP SAY RESIDENTS
BY COOBER PEDY REGIONAL TIMES ON JANUARY 19, 2018

Coober Pedy residents complaining of both stagnant-smelling and over-chlorinated tap water since the weekend of 6/7 January 2017 have taken to testing their own water before letting their children near it or using it themselves, and alternatively buying commercial drinking water from a number of the town’s retail outlets.People have also complained of sore eyes, skin rashes, a strange cough and even chest pains, coinciding with the strong smell of chlorine coming out of the taps at Coober Pedy on alternate days for nearly three weeks now. With South Australia in the grip of a serious heat wave Coober Pedy parents have becoming more vocal.

Amongst the countless complaints, one mother said: “My son was playing in water today and said his eyes were stinging. That’s from tap water… seriously something isn’t right.”

Another mother messaged the Coober Pedy Regional Times on Thursday night saying: “Midnight, I was off to bed, thought about having some water, had to spit it out, smelt and tasted like pool water. No we are not imagining things… so upsetting!!! I don’t know who to contact and complain…”

Since the weekend of the 6 & 7 January local residents believe that batches of possibly untreated bore water have been pumped through the town water pipes, then later in the day another batch that is heavily chlorinated. Residents say there has been no notification that the water pipes were being flushed due to a contamination. In fact, the exact opposite.

To date council has vigorously defended any suggestions of poor management of the town’s water supply and claims to have high standard, independent water results, that to date, they have declined to publish. Instead suggesting that residents should all go into the council office and see them. In this heat most of the community would consider that to be a backhanded invitation!

Residents would prefer to have dedicated oversight from SA Water for safety reasons during this difficult period where it is now believed that staff numbers have been reduced to one or possibly two to run both the Desalination Plant and the Sewerage Treatment Plant.

Owner operator of a local tour company tested his tap water on Thursday and found the levels of chlorine to be above average for a regular swimming pool. Resident said, “We did a reading today when the water started smelling and it registered at 2.0 -5.0 ppm. The average across Australia seems to be 0.5-1.5 ppm”

“We also did a “Control” experiment with bottled water to show our tests weren’t incorrect. The bottled water tests returned clear ie no chlorine.”

Local resident and father of three small children under 5 years old Jason Wright sent his chlorine test results into the Coober Pedy Regional Times on Thursday saying, “If anyone tries to tell you there is low chlorine in our drinking water then show them this. Testing 2.2ppm. That was today [Thursday] at approximately 5pm. Ideal for a swimming pool. How many people do you know that get a glass of water from their pool when they’re thirsty? I suspect it would have tested higher yesterday [Wednesday] when it stunk.”

Another resident who tested tap water in Hutchison Street also on Thursday said, “For swimming pools the ideal range is 1 – 1.5. As you can see the reading is above 5”.

A new Facebook group has appeared this week called Coober Pedy’s Water Supply. People have been invited to join. In one day they have accumulated over 120 members.

People say they are contacting Local Member for Giles, Eddie Hughes MP to register their fears and concerns with Coober Pedy’s current water quality.

Local member Eddie Hughes said he contacted the Ministers office last week to discuss Coober Pedy’s water supply issue and he has also spoken to the council and to Acting Water Supply Manager Colin Pitman.

“I have been provided with independent water testing results from an accredited organisation.”

“At the time of testing the water samples met all of the necessary standards.”

“Subsequent to that over the last couple of days a number of people have contacted me to voice concerns about the water.”