Think HBR

Stop boiling – Murrurundi and Scone water is safe to drink

water test close up

Upper Hunter Shire Council has lifted the Boil Water Advisory for Scone and Murrurundi, as recommended by NSW Health based on the results of daily water quality tests. Tap water is safe to drink and use in food preparation.

Council thanks residents for their patience and cooperation since the Boil Water Advisory was issued Friday night, 13 March 2020.

Since Friday night, water for the two towns has been sourced (pumped to Scone and trucked to Murrurundi) from the Aberdeen water supply, which comes from the Hunter River and passes through an infiltration gallery. Over time this has improved water quality in the Scone and Murrurundi water networks to acceptable levels, and that water is now in the reticulation systems (the pipes to your home).

Further good news is that WaterNSW have advised Council that the algae levels have dropped in Glenbawn Dam, allowing Council to draw water from higher in the dam when turbidity is at normal levels.  Therefore Council can resume sourcing water from Glenbawn Dam for Scone and Murrurundi in the near future.

What’s the plan to reduce the chances of this happening again?

The back-up option of using the Aberdeen water source for Scone and Murrurundi continues to be available if required.  The limitation on using the Aberdeen supply for Scone and Murrurundi for long periods of time is the capacity of the Aberdeen pump station.

Council is investigating ways to make the back-up water supply from Aberdeen more robust, in which case a similar incident in the future may not require a Boil Water Alert, but may trigger higher water restrictions at short notice to reduce demand on the pump station if it is required to supply Aberdeen, Scone and Murrurundi for a long period.

While Glenbawn Dam has historically been a very secure source, ongoing drought conditions are impacting on dam levels and water quality. If the dam level continues to fall, water quality problems could re-occur. Council will consider whether to raise water restrictions again in June/July, which will help ensure the Aberdeen supply back-up system is viable if required. This will also be impacted by how much water in the dam is made available, by state regulators, for all users next financial year.

Adding chlorine is currently the only treatment option Council has for water from Glenbawn Dam. Council has funding from the NSW Government to implement UV disinfection and additional pre-chlorination treatment upgrades to the Scone water supply system within the next 12 months.

Council is also working to secure a commitment from the NSW Government to help fund the construction of a water filtration plant for Scone, allowing Council to reduce turbidity levels in the water, regardless of the dam offtake level. This will take some years to develop and deliver, and Council has begun the process to have a new water treatment plant designed.