SA Water is continuing to improve management of the Wirrina Cove drinking water network and quality of water supplied to local customers, through recent upgrades at the local treatment plant and the Wirrina Cove Reservoir.
Operation and maintenance of the network which services the town of Wirrina Cove, along with the wider District Council of Yankalilla region’s wastewater network, transitioned from the local council to SA Water in July 2019.
SA Water’s General Manager of Asset Operations and Delivery Mark Gobbie said additional treatment infrastructure is now operating within the Wirrina Cove Water Treatment Plant, which will help to produce better quality water.
“A specialised aerator will assist in improving the taste and smell of our local customers’ tap water and our compliance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines,” Mark said.
“It works by removing chlorine disinfection by-products from the water, which are created by the interaction of chlorine with organic matter in the reservoir.”
In addition to this, a newly-installed pontoon anchored to the edge of the Wirrina Cove Reservoir will enable a safer and more efficient way of loading and unloading equipment and supplies from a small boat, which is used to carry out any monitoring, testing or treatment activities.
“The reservoir has a perimeter of around 1.5 kilometres, so a simple look from the water’s edge doesn’t give a detailed picture of how the body of water is behaving or whether there are any localised issues such as algae,” Mark said.
“The presence of algae in open water sources is a common event during warmer weather when conditions are favourable for growth, but can also occur as a result of an excess of nutrients entering the water through rain runoff or bank erosion.
“Algal blooms cause a naturally-occurring compound called geosmin, which can affect water aesthetics, but is harmless to human health. The Wirrina Cove Reservoir is no exception to this water quality challenge.
“A method routinely used across Australia to treat algae is the targeted dosing of activated carbon at a water treatment facility, which adsorbs the geosmin in the water and then the normal treatment process removes the carbon.
“We don’t currently have the ability to carbon dose at the Wirrina Cove Water Treatment Plant, but construction of specialised equipment which will assist with this activity is underway.
“We acknowledge there’s still a way to go to bringing the aesthetic quality of the water to an acceptable standard for local residents and businesses, but I assure you the water remains safe to drink, and we are committed to improving supply in a timely and cost-efficient way.
“We will continue updating the community as further investigations and improvement work progresses, with information sheets currently included with each quarterly water bill sent to local SA Water customers.”
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