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Water quality issues

City of Gold Coast will notify customers of any water quality issues as soon as we become aware of them.

Customers who use large quantities of water or who are highly dependent on water, such as dialysis patients and businesses, are notified directly. Other customers are notified via community announcements and our website.

If you think you have an issue with your water quality we ask that you call us on 07 5667 5801 or
1300 000 928

Our comprehensive monitoring and maintenance program ensures our customers and consumers enjoy the highest quality water. However, external factors can sometimes alter water quality.

Select from the drop-down headings below for more information on water quality issues.

Chemical or solvent taste/odour

Various chemicals and substances commonly used around the home or in the yard can penetrate polyethylene drinking water service lines. This can contaminate your water supply and cause a noticeably strong taste and/or odour in your water.

These service lines are Australian Standards and run to your home from the pipeline in the street. Accidental or deliberate spilling of chemicals in your yard can result in leaching of these chemicals through soil and permeation through polyethylene pipes into your water supply.

Due to the strong taste and odour, in most cases, the water will become unacceptable to drink prior to the level of chemicals in the water becoming a health concern.

There is a chance that your family’s health may be affected by consuming contaminated drinking water. If you are concerned, please contact us on 07 5667 5801 or 1300 000 928.

Discoloured water

Discoloured water looks brown or muddy and can stain when washing. It is an irregular occurrence caused mainly by the natural element, manganese.

While water may look brown, it will not cause people to become ill if consumed. If you receive brown water, running the outside tap at the back of your property for around 15 minutes will resolve the issue. If the water does not clear after flushing, please contact us on 07 5667 5801 or 1300 000 928.

Manganese collects on the inside of pipes. During times of high demand or changes in flow, these films can loosen, causing water to appear stained or dirty. We prevent the problem by undertaking substantial flushing of the pipe system in affected areas.

If discoloured water is present, it can stain clothes when washing. During times of discoloured water we suggest residents delay washing clothes. If this is not possible, we recommend:

  • running some water into the washing machine to check the water colour before washing clothes
  • checking the water colour before the washing machine reaches the rinse cycle – as it is at this stage that clothes can be stained.

Earthy or musty taste/odour

Blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) is responsible for the earthy or musty taste/odour in the water. Cyanobacteria can cause algal blooms by feeding on nutrients washed into waterways, or from nutrients released from sediments.

Algal blooms are likely to form when:

  • the water is relatively still
  • nutrients levels are high
  • temperatures remain warm
  • after a period of high rainfall that results in nutrients being washed from the catchment into the dam.

The dams and catchments are managed by Seqwater. Current technology is highly effective in treating water affected by a bloom, making it safe and palatable to drink.

In bloom situations, carbon is injected into the raw water to remove the taste of algae. If the bloom species is found to be toxic, other techniques, such as a combination of flocculation, filtration, chlorination and activated carbon are used to inactivate the toxin.

Cloudy, milky or white water

Milky or cloudy appearance is usually due to tiny air bubbles in the water. This can occur when air is trapped in the pipes after they have been repaired, or if carbon dioxide is released by the sudden reduction in pressure with a tap discharging.

Air in water is harmless and a glass of white water will quickly clear.

Blue or green water

Blue water may have a cloudy, blue tinged appearance. It can taste bitter and metallic.

In most cases it comes from copper pipe that has not been used for some time and has become slightly corroded.

Blue or green water may contain high levels of copper and should not be used for drinking or food preparation.

While blue water is potentially serious, the solution is simple. Flush the affected taps for one to two minutes before use. Testing shows that within seconds of flushing, copper levels drop to well below guideline limits.

Chlorine and fluoride

Both chlorine and fluoride are added to drinking water by Seqwater during the water treatment process. Chlorine is used to control potentially pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. Fluoride is added as a safe and effective way to reduce tooth decay.

Black specs

Black specs in the water are caused by the degradation of internal plumbing such as washers, gaskets and O-rings. Black specs are categorised as having small particles in the water similar to cracked pepper that does not dissolve, can stick to and smear on surfaces. If you are experiencing black specs in your drinking water, it is recommended you contact a licensed plumber to investigate the issue.

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