Broken Hill water tests return
Public health campaigners have collected and tested Broken Hill drinking water.
Some locals have claimed the town’s water has caused skin irritation and health problems, but Government authorities insist the supplies are fine.
The Broken Hill and Darling River Action Group sent samples from Broken Hill, Menindee, Sunset Strip and untreated water in the Darling River weir pool off for testing.
Reports this week say the samples treated for consumption are in line with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
Just one sample was taken from each location, so the readings are just a snapshot, not an average.
“Well we were certainly hoping they would [meet the standards because] obviously people are drinking it,” Action Group treasurer Mark Hutton has told the ABC.
“Essential Water is probably doing a good job in town of treating that basically sewerage water that they're pumping out of the weir pool for us and actually getting a supply to Menindee and Sunset Strip.
“It's rubbish where it's coming from, that's where the problem is.
“We shouldn't have to treat sewerage water to drink, it should be good-quality surface water.”
The water is safe to drink, but the high salt and mineral levels could leave a taste, according to Stuart Khan, a water expert at the University of New South Wales.
“This water is very hard [and] would be expected to lead to significant scaling, noticeable on glass shower doors and inside kettles,” Mr Khan said.
“This is probably the least favourable water quality parameter here, [but] note that it is not a health concern.”
The samples were found to have a normal pH range, little discolouration, and no bacterial contamination.
Mr Khan said the relatively high level of salt was common in hot environments due to concentration by evaporation.