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Boil water: Moruya and south

Today (6/1/2020) the communication from Warren Sharpe, OAM, Local Emergency Management Officer, Emergency Operations Centre, Eurobodalla at 10am stated: Water

IMPORTANT: From this morning, residents in Moruya and south to Tilba should boil their drinking water until further notice. Following the weekend’s firefighting activities, reservoirs in the south of the shire are being filled this morning with water straight from the river without the usual treatment process. No instruction is offered as to how long you should boil water. This may imply 'just bring it to the boil' - that is NOT the required treatment !!!!!!!


US Center for Disease Control: “Boiling can be used as a pathogen reduction method that should kill all pathogens. Water should be brought to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Boiling (for 1 minute) is sufficient to kill pathogenic bacteria, viruses and protozoa (WHO, 2015) Following a boil water advisory in your area, you should boil your water before doing any of following activities:

Making ice — also throw away any ice that may have become contaminated Brushing your teeth Preparing baby formula Preparing food Preparing drinks (even when the drink has its own filter, like coffee made with a coffee maker) Giving pets water to drink

Water doesn’t need to be purified when doing laundry, washing hands, or bathing. However, you should be careful to avoid getting water in your eyes or mouth. It’s also recommended to use purified water for bathing young children, people with weak immune systems, and people with an open wound.

You can use unpurified water to wash dishes, but the dishes should be soaked in a mixture of water and bleach for at least a minute after washing.

What to do after a boil water advisory is lifted

After the advisory is lifted, flush the plumbing in your home by running all cold water faucets for at least five minutes each. You should also flush all appliances connected to the water line, like refrigerators and dishwashers. Disposable filters that have come in contact with contaminated water should be removed and replaced. Ice from ice makers should be dumped and replaced three times. The NSW Department of Health advises: If your water supplier has issued a boil water notice, it is likely to be due to microbiological contamination. When a notice is issued drinking water should be brought to a rolling boil, such as with an automatic kettle, allowed to cool and stored in a clean container with a lid and refrigerated.

Householders in affected areas should use boiled water for drinking, cooking, washing raw foods (such as seafood or salads), making ice, pet’s drinking water, and cleaning teeth or gargling. Children should take boiled or bottled water to school. Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher. The NSW Department of Health offers the following very clear Boil water alert guidance.

A boil water alert should be considered where there is a risk that cannot immediately be rectified and consumers will be exposed to contaminated water.

This page forms part of the NSW Health response protocol for water utilities and public health units: Managing Pathogen Risks in Drinking Water.


Considering the need for a boil water alert

Under Section 22 of the Public Health Act 2010, the Chief Health Officer has the power to issue advice, for the benefit of the public, concerning the safety of drinking water and any possible risks to health. This advice may include a boil water alert. The supplier of drinking water concerned (in this case Eurobodalla Council) must issue the advice to the public in such form and manner directed by the Chief Health Officer. The power to provide this advice is delegated to PHU Directors.

A local water utility may issue a boil water alert of its own accord.

The water utility, PHU, Water Unit and/or Chief Health Officer will consider the following when determining the need for a boil water alert:

the findings of the water supply system investigation results of available water quality data (operational monitoring, field measurements and laboratory testing results) whether proper sample collection and analysis techniques were used whether samples are representative of water that is actually consumed the effectiveness of current treatment (including filtration and disinfection) to respond to the range of potential pathogensfor a critical control point exception, consider the catchment condition, raw water quality and the likelihood of pathogens entering the drinking water supply. any complaints about water quality (including taste, odour and appearance) or health. Evidence of illness associated with this water supply the community impact of a boil water alert the community impact of a boil water alert (including adverse consequences such as scalds) where the cause can be resolved promptly.

Issuing a boil water alert

Once a decision is made to issue a boil water alert, the water utility must notify consumers urgently. The investigation should have confirmed where consumers are already exposed to the contamination, or when they will be exposed.

The conditions for lifting the boil water alert should be discussed with the PHU (public Health Units) at the time that the alert is placed. These should include evidence of a sanitary survey, rectification of any problems, evidence that reservoir openings have been sealed and contamination removed, evidence that the supply system is operating normally (e.g. adequate filtration turbidity, adequate disinfection residual in distribution system), and clear microbiology sampling results.

NSW Health has standard words for a boil water alert due to:

detection of E. coli, and poor raw water quality or when treatment or disinfection critical limits are exceeded.

In issuing a boil water alert the water utility should use the best means to communicate the information, possibly including:

letterbox drops radio and television announcements door knocking signs on public taps and bubblers social media electronic roadside signs regional SMS services notify water carters and consumers who receive carted water.

Include the time and date in all updates, as messages are often repeated by others at a later time, especially across social media.

The water utility must:

ensure vulnerable people and those with special needs receive the information they need to make themselves safe (e.g. direct communication with schools, hospitals etc.). Translated information should be available for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Accommodation facilities should be reminded to provide the boil water advice to all consumers.notify consumers that may have received carted water drawn from the affected system.

The water utility, PHU and DoI Water should maintain close communication during the boil water alert to ensure all parties are kept up to date with findings and corrective actions.

The PHU should consider the need for enhanced surveillance for illness in communities where boil water alerts have been issued.


Lifting a boil water alert

The water utility must consult the PHU before lifting a boil water alert.

In lifting a boil water alert, the water utility should communicate the information in the same way the alert was issued. The water utility should also:

include time and date in all updates, as messages are often repeated by others at a later time include information regarding the nature of the problem, how it has been fixed and assurance that the water is now safe notify consumers that may have received carted water from the affected system.

Incident debrief and reporting guidance

Directly following completion of the incident response, arrange a debrief discussion with relevant stakeholders, including all staff involved, NSW Health and DoI Water. The debrief should allow stakeholders to discuss the incident and address any issues or concerns. The aim of the debrief is to allow the utility, NSW Health and DoI Water to learn from the incident and improve operations and responses.

The debrief discussion should be followed up with a written summary report on the incident considering factors such as:

the cause of the problem how the problem was first identified the most critical actions and pieces of information required to respond challenges in communication and how were they addressed how well the protocol was followed any necessary improvements to equipment, processes, SOPs or the incident management plan documentation of relevant information during the incident any actions to improve preparedness and planning for future incidents.

Utilities should consider the need to support staff who may feel a significant burden of responsibility for an incident (e.g. through counselling or an employee assistance program). source: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/water/Pages/boil-water-alert-guidance.aspx

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