Residents keen to tap potable supply
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.”