Residents in Tweed Shire are being told not to use their outdoor water, after salt water got in to Bray Park Weir overnight.
Council has put immediate water restriction in place as a precaution, with the issue deemed to be aesthetic.
However, Council is contacting the North Coast Public Health Unit to advise it of the situation and recommends people with medical conditions, such as those using dialysis, contact their usual medical provider for advice.
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Residents are asked NOT to use any water for outdoor uses, such as gardening, washing cars etc.
At this stage, indoor water use and commercial operations are not restricted.
Residents should also be alert not to use the water on salt-sensitive plants, such as avocadoes, or in fresh-water fish tanks.
The restrictions are likely to be in force for 24 hours to two days as Council works to rid the weir of the salty water.
Tests done this morning by Council’s Tweed Water Laboratory confirmed total dissolved solids of 620mg/litre at the weir. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines rule <600mg/litre as being of ‘good’ quality; 600-900mg/litre as being of ‘fair quality; and, >1200mg/litre as being of ‘unacceptable’ quality.
“We know that Murwillumbah water is most affected but ask all shire residents to restrict water use at this stage,” Manager Water and Wastewater Anthony Burnham said.
“Alarms at the Bray Park Water Treatment Plant alerted us to the issue about 8 o’clock this morning. While we will investigate the cause further, at this stage I understand the salt water ingress resulted from a higher than predicted tide. Council’s normal operating procedures are to place sandbags on the weir wall to raise the height of the wall in these events.
“As well, the natural flow of the Tweed River normally works against the tide to keep salt water out of the weir but current river flows are low.”
Residents are advised not to drink their tap water if it tastes salty but instead use bottled water.
Council will provide an update on the situation about noon today.
The drinking water for Uki and Tyalgum is not affected.