Frequently Asked Questions - Young Water Supply Boil Water Alert

12/02/2021



Why has a Boil Water Alert been issued in consultation with NSW Health?
There has been a detection of E. coli bacteria in the Young water supply system, which means that drinking water may be unsafe.

E. Coli in drinking water shows that the water may be contaminated with faeces and organisms that may cause gastrointestinal illness.
 
 
Is it safe for my family and I to drink the water?
At this time, the drinking water in Young is presumed unsafe for consumption as a precautionary measure. E. Coli in drinking water shows that the water may be contaminated with faeces and organisms that may cause gastrointestinal illness.

Water used for drinking or food preparation should be brought to a rolling boil to make it safe. Kettles with automatic shut off switches can do this. Water should then be allowed to cool and stored in a clean container with a lid and refrigerated. 

Bottled water or cool boiled water should be used for drinking, washing uncooked food (e.g. salad vegetables and fruit), making ice, cleaning teeth, gargling and pet’s drinking water.

Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher.  Children should take bottled water or cool boiled water to school.  

If you cannot boil the water, unscented household bleach (containing 4% – 5% available chlorine) may be used. Add 2 drops of bleach to 1 litre of water (or 4 drops if the water is cloudy), mix well, and allow to stand for 30 minutes before use. The composition of bleach is similar to disinfection chemicals used to treat water. 

Am I going to get sick if I drink the tap water?
Through normal sampling routine, Council have detected E. coli in one sample in the water supply system. As a precautionary measure we have issued a boil water alert for the entire Young water supply.

How long will the boil alert likely be in place?
Council has initiated an extensive sampling program to identify problems areas and undertake rectification works if required. Council will keep the community informed of the progress of the works and likely timing once the results of the sampling program have been received.
 
Is it safe to bath/shower using my water?
Yes, it is safe to bath, shower and wash clothes. When bathing or showering care must be taken not to swallow the water. Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher.
 
If I have a filter on my tap will my water still be affected?
Even if you have a filter on your water supply, we recommend, as a precautionary measure, that all water coming from the tap be boiled prior to consumption, food preparation, cleaning teeth and ice-making until further notice.  
 
What if I am frail or unwell?
If you are frail or unwell, immuno-compromised, have very young children or are pregnant, you should consider taking additional precautions. For more information please visit NSW Health https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/water/Pages/drinking-water.aspx
 
How is Council testing the quality of the water?
Our staff regularly monitor and sample water throughout the water supply system. During a boil water alert sampling and monitoring is significantly increased. Analysis of samples is undertaken at an independent certified water testing laboratory.
 
Who has Council notified about the boil water notice?
We have directly contacted and notified relevant parties, including schools, childcare facilities, aged care facilities, Young Hospital, pubs, cafes, restaurants, accommodation providers. Variable Message Board Signage has been placed on roadways into Young. Media releases have been issued to local radio, newspapers, on social media and Council’s website. Posters have been placed on public taps, bubblers and water filling stations.
 
How will I know when the water is safe to drink?
The boil water alert will remain in place until the outcomes of the sampling has been received and any rectification works, if required, have been completed. The community will be notified again via radio, newspaper, Variable Messaging Boards along the roadside, social media and on our website when the boil alert has been lifted.