Drinking water quality

To make sure our drinking water is of a high quality, there are strict standards we meet before it reaches your taps. 

To ensure we continue to deliver on those standards, we have adopted a Water Supply Policy that outlines our commitments. 

Some of the ways we treat and disinfect our bulk water supply are: 

  • Balancing the pH levels of the water by adding carbon dioxide gas and lime, so it's not too acidic
  • Fluoridating the water supply to help prevent tooth decay
  • Adding a small amount of chlorine to destroy any disease-causing bacteria

We also have treatment plants at Wauchope, Telegraph Point, Long Flat and Comboyne to provide filtered water, but the rest of our town water supply comes from the Hastings Bulk Water Supply Scheme. You can learn more about our water supply on our scheme diagram(PDF, 599KB)

Water testing

We use the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines to measure and manage our drinking water quality, these are based on drinking water guidelines developed by the World Health Organisation.

Before our drinking water gets to your place, we test over 130 samples per week from our 47 monitoring locations to make sure it’s clean and clear. There are some tests we have to send to other labs because they are really specialised, but we’re lucky to have an amazing environmental laboratory team at Charles Sturt University's Port Macquarie Campus checking these test results against NSW Health and NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines.

We also use these tests to monitor the river conditions, our dams and our treatment processes. Our trained water treatment staff can fine tune our processes based on the water quality in the rivers or stop pumping water from the rivers if the conditions aren’t great.

What we test for

There are over 70 things we test for, some of those things are:

  • Water colour and pH
  • Chlorine levels
  • Escherichia coli (E.coli)
  • Oxygen levels
  • Turbidity (how dirty the water is)
  • Ammonia, nitrates and nitrites
  • Blue-green algae
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Salinity
  • Metals like iron, aluminium and lead
  • Total phosphorus and nitrogen.

Water hardness

Hardness is a measure of how many dissolved minerals (mainly calcium and magnesium) are in our water. Our water supply has a target ‘hardness’ of 40-60mg per litre, so it’s considered ‘soft’. This can be important to know when you’re buying new appliances like washing machines and dishwashers that might have a special setting depending on the water hardness.