Res­i­dents keen to tap potable sup­ply

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - HE­LEN KEMP­TON

THEIR area may have just won the crown as the source of Tasmania’s best drink­ing wa­ter, but the peo­ple who live clos­est to Lake Fen­ton still have to boil their tap wa­ter be­fore it can be drunk.

Res­i­dents and busi­nesses in Na­tional Park and West­away, and the many tourists who go through there on their way to Mt Field, will have to wait un­til a new wa­ter treat­ment plant is built next year to be able to drink from the tap.

The wa­ter from Lake Fen­ton, which is piped into Ho­bart’s north­ern sub­urbs, was this week deemed the state’s best drink­ing wa­ter.

How­ever, those liv­ing and work­ing near its source are on a boil wa­ter alert.

Wa­ter from Lake Fen­ton runs along nat­u­ral streams to a weir above Na­tional Park. From there it is col­lected by TasWater in the Fen­ton pipe­line. It is chlo­ri­nated and dis­trib­uted to sev­eral Ho­bart sub­urbs and also stored in dams at Water­works Re­serve.

Dur­ing heavy rain, or­ganic ma­te­rial and sed­i­ments picked up as the wa­ter trav­els along the nat­u­ral stream to the weir can make the wa­ter tur­bid, or dis­coloured.

When this hap­pens, TasWater stops pip­ing wa­ter from Lake Fen­ton into Ho­bart and sub­sti­tutes it with wa­ter from other sources.

“How­ever due to the con­fig­u­ra­tion of the in­fra­struc­ture in the lo­cal area of Fen­ton­bury, Wester­way and Na­tional Park it is not prac­ti­cal to pre­vent the tur­bid wa­ter en­ter­ing the sup­ply net­work of these com­mu­ni­ties,” TasWater said.

In the past tem­po­rary boil wa­ter alerts were im­posed dur­ing pe­ri­ods of in­creased tur- bid­ity but af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with the De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices it was de­cided as a pre­cau­tion and to avoid con­fu­sion, to put a per­ma­nent health alert in place.”

Rachel Power, the owner of Wa­ter­falls Cafe and Gallery at Na­tional Park, said when it rained the wa­ter be­came un­drink­able and a per­ma­nent boil wa­ter alert had been in place for her town, nearby Wester­way, since the mid­dle of last year.

“We needed to know what I was serv­ing my cus­tomers was fit to drink so the boiled wa­ter is a good thing un­til the sit­u­a­tion is sorted,” Mrs Power said.

“We are pleased there will be a new treat­ment plant built and the alert will fi­nally be lifted but TasWater must en­sure the plant is built in a place which will al­low all cus­tomers in the area to be able to drink from the tap.”

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