What is potable water?
Potable water is water that is fit for consumption by humans and animals. It is also called drinking water, in reference to its intended use. The quality of potable water is tested by qualified personnel to ensure that there are no harmful organisms present that may be potentially harmful if consumed.
What is non-potable water?
Water that contains pathogenic microorganisms or toxic substances above the levels recommended by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines is unsafe to drink and therefore is non-potable water. The consumption of non-potable water by humans may cause serious illness or death.
Is bore water or tank water safe to drink?
The potability of any type of water can only be determined by bacteriological and chemical testing.
In our regional area, there are households that use water from rain water tanks or bore water for drinking, cooking, showering and other household chores.
Whilst individuals with strong immune systems may be able to ingest untreated tank water or bore water without becoming sick, immunocompromised individuals, children and elderly people are at high risk of getting ill by drinking untreated water.
What are the possible causes of bore water or tank water contamination?
The water in a rain water tank can be contaminated with pathogens from wild life droppings that can be on the rain water collection surfaces. The bore water can be contaminated with pathogenic organisms from household sewage leachate reaching the ground water table where the bore water is extracted.
Where can I test the potability of water?
Whitsunday’s Regional Council water and waste testing services can test any water sample for bacterial and chemical contamination. Alternatively the water samples can be sent to the water testing laboratories in Mackay or Townsville.
WATER TREATMENT TO ENSURE THAT THE WATER IS POTABLE
The water is extracted from bores or the river and treated to remove suspended solids, bacteria, algae, viruses, fungi and minerals, such as iron and manganese. The treated water is then disinfected with chlorine (sodium hypochlorite).
What happens after the water is treated?
The disinfected potable water is pumped via truck mains and distribution systems to households and businesses. The potability of the water is continually monitored via the SCADA monitoring system. The treated water undergoes a testing regime designed to ensure potability of the supplied water, as described in the Council’s Drinking Water Management Plan approved by the Queensland Department of Energy and Water Supply.
Measures are taken to ensure water potability throughout the entire water distribution system.