About 600 properties at Archies Creek, Kilcunda and Dalyston have been chosen for a treatment trial designed to reduce the chlorine taste and smell in water.
Westernport Water will start the two-month trial of a new treatment system from May 6.
The process is called chloramination and has been in use for more than 70 years throughout Australia.
Managing Director Murray Jackson explained what happens: “A small amount of ammonia is added to the water prior to the chlorine. This lessens the taste and odour of chlorine in the water.
“Chloramination offers longer-lasting treatment than chlorine-only. It helps overcome unpalatable ‘swimming pool-type’ smells and tastes.”
After chloramination the water will not look any different, but it should taste better.
People with kidney ailments and other medical conditions can safely drink the water. It is also safe to use on all garden plants, including fruit and vegetables.
Property owners in the trial area will receive individual letters explaining the process and local businesses are being contacted by Westernport Water staff.
Daily monitoring and testing of the chloraminated water will occur during the first two weeks.
Results from the trials will be studied before any further program is undertaken.
People on dialysis machines and owners of pond or aquarium fish will need additional information and instructions. For information, contact Dean Chambers, Water Quality Officer on mobile 0417 366 475.
Mr Jackson said there might be some early taste and odour variations during the trial.
“Because of the small quantities involved, chloramination is administered with very sensitive equipment. We have the high-end technology but, because chloramination is long-lasting, there is a very small chance of different tastes and odours occurring during the early days of the trial. “We will seek to prevent this but would ask customers’ patience if this happens.”
He added: “We are most keen to hear people’s comments on the trial. The freecall number to phone is 1300 720 711 anytime.”
Westernport Water is making water quality one of its focus areas and has invested in technology to improve treatment systems.
“If this trial is successful we hope to introduce it to other areas,” Mr Jackson said.
Parts of the Yarra Valley, Geelong, Mornington Peninsula, Wodonga, Benalla, together with other Victorian towns, use chloramination to safely treat their water. Brisbane has been using it successfully since the 1930’s. Sydney has recently started to use it and South Australia is using it in some of its systems. Its use in America is increasing with approximately 25% of US water utilities now treat their water this way. In South Gippsland chloraminated water is already being supplied to Wonthaggi, Inverloch and Cape Patterson.
WHAT IS CHLORAMINATION? A small amount of ammonia is added prior to the chlorine. A reaction takes place that forms a new disinfectant, monochloramines.
WHAT ABOUT DIALYSIS MACHINES? Water used in dialysis machines is currently filtered and this must continue. Westernport Water is in discussions with local health authorities, doctors and the Department of Human Services.
WHAT ABOUT MY AQUARIUM FISH? Chloramines must be removed before water is used in fish ponds or aquariums. Local pet shops and vets have a range of treatments such as water-conditioning agents and carbon filters that will make the chloraminated water safe for aquarium fish.
CAN IT BE REMOVED FROM WATER? Yes – by the use of a granular activated carbon filter, or, in the case of aquariums, by using one of the agents recommended by a vet or pet shop.