Riverina Water County Council has assured Wagga residents that water supply is safe to consume after residents raised concerns in the past two weeks.
A Turvey Park resident, who did not want to be named, said he had noticed his water being discoloured and tasting “slightly differently”.
“I first thought it may have just been my tap, but then I noticed it at Harris Park [Mount Austin] as well,” he said.
“I wasn’t sure what it was so I called Riverina Water and they said it wasn’t harmful or toxic.”
RWCC engineering director Bede Spannagle said the organisation was aware of “customers experiencing ‘earthy’ tasting water in the Wagga Wagga urban area”.
“[This] is due to naturally occurring geosmin and methyl-isoborneol (MIB) compounds present in the Murrumbidgee River,” Mr Spannagle said.
“Some kinds of algae and bacteria present in dams and river catchments naturally produce geosmin and MIB.
"Increased concentrations of these microorganisms can cause an increase in geosmin and MIB.”
RWCC notified a NSW Health Public Health Unit Officer of taste and odour concerns on October 24 and WaterNSW was contacted on October 25.
RWCC has conducted water testing in consultation with NSW Health.
“As a result of testing and in accordance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, NSW Health confirmed the water is safe to drink,” Mr Spannagle said.
“This information was subsequently shared directly with customers.”
A Murrumbidgee Local Health District spokesperson said the initial samples taken on October 24–25 “confirmed that the water tested was safe to drink and noted that geosmin and MIB produce a musty, earthy smell and taste”.
“These compounds are not harmful at the levels present in drinking water,” the spokesperson said.
The latest testing comes after RWCC recently conducted earthworks at Willans Hill for new water reservoirs.
However, Mr Spannagle said: “At this stage of the Willans Hill upgrade project, there is no connection to the current water supply network and as such these works have no impact on water supply”.
Hunter Water, which provides water and wastewater services to residents in the lower Hunter Region, states that lemon juice and chill water with increased geosmin and MIB levels to improve the taste.
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