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Cooma’s smelly water improving after flash flooding contamination

Ian Campbell 29 March 2019
An aerial view of the Murrumbidgee River and the turbidity that has impacted Cooma's water supply. Photo: SMRC.

An aerial view of the Murrumbidgee River and the turbidity that has impacted Cooma’s water supply. Photo: SMRC.

The quality of Cooma’s water supply is expected to improve within the next week.

Despite recent concerns, Snowy Monaro Regional Council says the town’s water supply continues to comply with Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. But given the taste and odour, drinking it has been hard to swallow.

Council says the change in water quality was caused by localised storm activity and flash flooding just over 10 days ago, along the Murrumbidgee River, upstream of the Cooma Water Treatment Plant (WTP).

This resulted in large volumes of dirt and silt being flushed into Cooma’s water supply weir pool on the river. The contamination extends for a further 21 km upstream of the Cooma WTP.

In his almost three decades working at Council, Water and Wastewater Manager Mark Rixon says he has not seen the river so turbid.

“In 27 years, I have not seen the amount of dirt and silt presently in the river.”

“Staff have been working up to 20 hours a day at the treatment plant to monitor the water being produced.”

Cooma Water Treatment Plant full of muddy water. Photo: SMRC.

Cooma Water Treatment Plant full of muddy water. Photo: SMRC.

The taste and odour impurity residents have been experiencing is no longer present in the raw water entering the Cooma WTP. Council advises that if the current water quality of the Murrumbidgee River remains, it is anticipated the issues in the water quality will subside in the coming days.

Earlier this week Woolworths delivered and donated sixty, 10-litre containers of water to Monaro High School to help them cope with the problem.

Region Media has requested an interview with Mayor, John Rooney. More to come.

Original Article published by Ian Campbell on About Regional.


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