The 4350water Blog highlights some of the issues relating to proposals for potable reuse in Toowoomba and South East Qld. 4350water blog looks at related political issues as well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Anna Bligh can't get the SEQ fluoride mix correct - first too much, now too little ...

Will the next batch be just right ...

SEQWater puts too little fluoride in water supply

19 May 2009

First SEQWater overdosed southeast Queensland's water supply with fluoride, and now it has been discovered it is not putting enough in.

Still smarting from last week's embarrassing revelations that up to 20 times the allowable fluoride doses had been added to the water supply to about 4000 homes, State Government authorities have now admitted that too little is coming out of the tap.

SEQWater, the agency responsible for fluoridation, has revealed that all six water treatment plants adding fluoride to drinking supplies have failed to put enough of the chemical into the water.

The failure, blamed on a range of commissioning problems and equipment faults, potentially puts SEQWater in breach of health regulations governing fluoridation.

It is the latest mishap to have afflicted the controversial new system of distributing and supplying water around the region, after the Government's plans to introduce purified recycled water to the drinking reserves were also shelved by Premier Anna Bligh after dam levels began rising.

Queensland Health regulations dictate that average fluoride dosages must be 0.8 milligrams a litre but SEQWater's tests have shown that dosages for the first three months of this year have been as low as 0.04 mg/L.

SEQWater admitted to the dosage failure in a compulsory performance report it handed to Queensland Health last Friday – at the same time as it was battling the fall-out from the fluoride overdose at the North Pine treatment plant that affected about 400 homes and was not detected for two weeks.

The Bligh Government has committed $35 million to fluoridating the state's drinking water, about $10 million of which has gone to upgrading water treatment in southeast Queensland.

A spokesman for SEQWater said the low dosages were not surprising in the first few months of fluoridation and the start-up commissioning of the treatment plants. He said the minimum levels were recorded when the treatment plant being tested was "offline".

"From SEQWater's perspective this is absolutely to be expected," he said.

However, he admitted that he did not know for sure if the organisation had breached Queensland Health regulations, which stipulate that fluoride dosage should average within 0.1 of the optimum level of 0.8 mg/L.

Ms Bligh has ordered an investigation into the fluoride overdose incident.

See - Courier Mail - SEQWater puts too little fluoride in water supply.


Anonymous newswatch said...

Brisbane Times:

Bligh investigates fluoride blunders

May 19, 2009

South-East Queensland's new water fluoridation system will be investigated after drinking water supply blunders.

Up to 20 times the allowable fluoride doses were added to the water, supplying about 4,000 homes in Brisbane's north, the state government revealed last week .

The agency responsible for fluoridation, SEQWater, has also reported six of its water treatment plants did not put enough of the chemical into the water in the first three months of this year.

Premier Anna Bligh on Tuesday told state parliament the system, which was controversial when it was introduced to the southeast in December last year, would be investigated.

Ms Bligh said International Water Centre chief Mark Pascoe would conduct an independent and thorough investigation of the overdose incident.

Mr Pascoe would also look for possible breaches by authorities, and report by June 26, she said.

"While this rigorous investigation is being carried out, the fluoride dosing system at North Pine will remain offline," Ms Bligh said.

"It will remain this way until the investigation is completed, and any necessary action that may be recommended is taken to prevent any future recurrence."

The investigation will examine the design and operation of the North Pine fluoridation system, monitoring, notification and emergency systems, as well as fluoridation systems in Queensland and overseas.

The report will be released publicly.

Fluoride is being phased into drinking water throughout Queensland, and will be available to 95 per cent of the population when the program is finished in December 2012.

11:21 AM, May 19, 2009


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