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Alex Manners, Chief Officer Assets and Services gives an important update about Guyra’s water supply

Dear Guyra community,

I understand that you may be experiencing changed water quality and am writing to share some information and plans that I hope will provide reassurance.

As the weather warmed over summer, and with low rainfall in the catchment serving the Guyra dams, water quality in Guyra suffered. This was especially noticeable in late December.

Water treatment is guided by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG), and in New South Wales (NSW) it is regulated by the New South Wales Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW), as well as New South Wales Public Health (NSWPH).

Council works closely with those agencies to ensure water meets standards and that risks to the public from consumption of water are within acceptable limits.

Algal blooms in dams are a common phenomenon that is experienced by water supplies across New South Wales and Australia.As temperatures started to rise at the end of 2023, Guyra water treatment operators prepared for the water quality changes caused by algal blooms, which can affect both taste and odour. All preparations were in line with the guidelines and support from both DCCEEW and NSWPH.

One of the challenges facing local operators is the age, design and condition of the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) in Guyra which was constructed in the 1980s. The WTP requires operators to manually adjust the treatment process based on water quality being received from the Guyra dams. (There is no automated response as at updated facilities in other areas).

Unfortunately, the existing treatment process allowed for water with higher than usual taste and odour to enter the water reticulation system.

While the water quality was within NSWPU and ADWG limits and safe to drink, we understand that Guyra residents were impacted.

To address this impact, local staff worked (within the limitations of the WTP) to reduce the taste and odour of the water received from the dam. Staff also worked to remove the taste and odour from the network through an ongoing flushing program to expel any residual water with taste and odour as quickly as possible.

What next?

Armidale Regional Council has a program to design and complete Treatment Automation works which will improve the ease for treatment operators, reduce the workload and eliminate the historical manual design and components of water treatment at the Guyra plant.

While the former Guyra Shire Council did not have the opportunity or resources to update the plant, we are pleased that this work will soon be done.

The planning and preparation for these works has been an ongoing project for approximately 18 months and is expected to run for at least two years before fully complete.

Please be aware that whilst these works are being undertaken, the challenges in treating water at the Guyra WTP will remain.

To report an issue, or for more information, please contact Council on 1300 136 833 (24 Hours) or by email: council@armidale.nsw.gov.au

Regards,

Alex Manners - Chief Officer Assets and Services

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