Secret water emergency as trucks rush to Mary Valley
GYMPIE Regional council yesterday downplayed what amounts to a secret water emergency, following the failure of all three Mary Valley water treatment plants.
It was a case of water, water everywhere but (almost) not a drop to drink in the Mary Valley after flood conditions left three major towns with raw water that the council’s almost-new treatment plants could not cope with.
Residents of Imbil, Kandanga and Amamoor have reported seeing scores of big water tankers delivering water to their towns.
One said it appeared the Imbil trucks were pumping water into the system at high pressure to top of the town reservoir with water from the council’s Jones Hill treatment plant.
This is the plant which provides Gympie with its drinking water.
It is now also supplying Imbil, Kandanga and Amamoor.
Internal council information includes admissions that there is something wrong.
Mary Valley councillor Bob Fredman said he could not explain the shutdown of three separate and almost new water treatment plants at the same time, even if flooding had affected raw water quality.
“No-one has told me about it. I don’t know anything,” an angry Mr Fredman said yesterday.
“But one of my constituents at Imbil pointed out a big semi-trailer water truck coming in to town, probably carrying many thousands of litres.
“And when he did that, another truck came past in the other direction, going back for more water.
“It happens about a dozen times a day, he told me.
“And that’s just Imbil. It must be costing a fortune,” Mr Fredman said.
A council spokesman said the council was “tankering in limited amounts of water to Imbil, Kandanga and Amamoor.
“Water treatment plants are straining to produce the required volumes of water due to the poor quality of the raw water following recent heavy rainfall.
“The wet period, following the dry, has made it challenging for the treatment plants to produce the necessary volume of high quality water.”
Mr Fredman, formerly the council’s chief water supply engineer, said similar conditions had occurred before, “but it never stopped us then.”
He said the constituent who raised the issue with him at Imbil doubted council claims that the problem was minor and that only “limited quantities “of water were being trucked in,
Mr Fredman called for greatly improved openness about the problem, which was obviously serious and seriously expensive.
The council spokesman said the effort was intended to ensure high water quality.