Tweed Shire Council is carting water to Tyalgum to service the village’s residents due to a significant blue-green algae bloom at Tyalgum Weir and low flows in the Oxley River.
Tyalgum residents have been advised that Level 2 water restrictions are now in force in the Tyalgum village to reduce water consumption while carting is required.
This is likely to continue until the area receives significant rainfall.
The use of fixed hoses, sprinklers and soaker hoses are banned under Level 2 restrictions, as is the washing of driveways, paved areas and roofs. Agricultural irrigation is also not permitted.
Council’s Manager Water Anthony Burnham explained that water carting was necessary as Tyalgum’s water treatment plant does not have the technology to remove taste, odour and toxin issues associated with blue-green algal blooms.
“To protect the water supply, water is being transported from Bray Park Water Treatment Plant where Powder Activated Carbon (PAC) is used to treat water affected by blue-green algae,” Mr Burnham said.
Tweed Shire Council is conducting regular sampling and analysis of the affected waters and is treating extracted water with PAC to ensure the safety of the water supply.
Mr Burnham said residents should not be concerned about consuming PAC-treated water.
“Water treated by powder activated carbon removes taste and odour issues and the water treated in this way is safe to drink,” Mr Burnham said.
“No toxins have been found in the current blooms on the Tweed and treated water without toxins doesn’t present a health issue – it’s more about the aesthetic qualities of the water.”
Meanwhile, a red alert has been issued by the North Coast Regional Algal Co-ordinating Committee and Tweed Shire Council for Bray Park Weir on the Tweed River and for the Oxley River.
The alert for the Bray Park Weir covers the immediate area upstream of the water supply weir, in the weir pool itself and immediately downstream of the weir.
The blue-green algae bloom in the Oxley River extends between the Byangum Bridge and Tyalgum.
Residents should avoid direct contact with water affected by a blue-green algae bloom as this could lead to skin rashes, eye and ear irritations.
Ingesting non-treated water can lead to diarrhoea and long-term health problems. Asthma attacks can also be brought on by contact with blue-green algae.
Information on current algal alerts is available on the NSW Algal Information Line 1800 999 457 (free call) or from the NSW Office of Water’s website www.water.nsw.gov.au