Cash injection to help remove arsenic from Uralla's water
It's been a tough few months for residents and businesses as arsenic levels continue to remain toxic in the town's water supply, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has announced a state government emergency grant of $1.27 million for Uralla Shire Council to cover the cost of its water treatment plant enhancement to remove harmful arsenic from the town's potable water supply.
Mr Marshall said the funding would be available immediately and would come as a considerable relief to council and the community, which has relied on bottled drinking water for human consumption since late December last year.
"Uralla is known for its vibrant and thriving hospitality sector and CBD, but since December that has taken a real hit due to the water contamination issue," he said.
"Since February council staff have been working with Water NSW engineers to find an appropriate solution which would bring arsenic levels back within the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
"At the start of the March, council initiated plans to install a granular activated carbon filter at its water treatment plant at Kentucky Creek Dam, combined with a ferric chloride pre-treatment process, as a means of tackling both organic and inorganic arsenic compounds.:
Mr Marshall said the grant would cover any costs it accrues while installing and upgrading infrastructure, meaning no added impost to ratepayers.
He added funds had also been made available to continue providing bottled water until the issue is resolved.
"The distribution of bottled water to Uralla residents has been a huge logistical effort for Council, which estimates the equivalent of 1.77 million 600mL bottles of drinking water has been provided to the community," he said.
"Council has advised me recent testing of the raw water supply have shown arsenic levels have dropped significantly due to dilution following recent rain.
"Improvements to the treatment plant through optimising the chemical dosing have provided for treated water with arsenic levels approaching the 0.01mg/L guideline value."
Mr Marshall said if water testing continues to provide positive results on a consistent and reliable basis, the 'do not drink' alert may be lifted by sometime in April.