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.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

SEQ water contamination issue gets worse for Anna Bligh ...

Courier Mail:

Wrong date given for fluoride overdose in water

16 May 2009

The Bligh Government's handling of the fluoride overdose was in disarray last night after it admitted it got the date wrong about when the bungle occurred.

The Government has admitted residents should have been told they may have drunk water with 20 times the allowable amount of fluoride on May 2 - not May 1 as Premier Anna Bligh said on Thursday.

The blunder is a major embarrassment for the Government, already defending the two-week delay in testing that preceeded this week's health notification to residents on Brisbane's northside.

The Premier was unavailable last night but SEQ Water Grid Manager director Nicole Davis confirmed the water entered supplies in the Brendale and Warner areas on May 2 for three hours between 9am and midday.

It means the water flowed on the Saturday morning putting many more residents at risk.

''We were trying to get the information out there to assure people,'' Ms Davis said. ''The initial advice was it was May 1 but LinkWater went back today looking at their data and discovered the error that it was, in fact, May 2.

''I do apologise on behalf of the (SEQ Water Grid) Manager that there has been confusion for the community.''

The error is set to inflame tensions further. As angry residents yesterday claimed the overdose made them sick and killed their pets, it emerged they may be unable to sue for compensation.

The Government has specifically legislated to stop lawsuits relating to fluoride.

While Ms Bligh had earlier refused to speculate on compensation for the 4000 homes exposed to the water, lawyers believe Section 94 of the Water Fluoridation Act ruled out civil suits from the public.

''A person does not have any civil right or remedy against a public potable water supplier in relation to the fluoridation of a public potable water supply under this Act,'' the law reads.

The water contained 30 to 31mg/L of fluoride instead of the maximum allowable 1.5mg/L.

The Government had received no complaints yesterday but The Courier-Mail has received several reports of symptoms similar to gastroenteritis.

Warner mother-of-two Caroline Rossiter said her family, including the dog and cat, had been ill for two weeks.

"I was for fluoride but now I am very concerned," she said. "I have headaches, chest pain, shortness of breath, gastro. We still haven't been contacted about it."

Robert Gow, a Bunya resident near Warner, said 10 of his budgerigars died and his cockatiel was sick. His daughter Renee lives at Warner and her budgerigar also died.

"All the birds basically got the runs with lots of watery discharge in the cage and they were dehydrated," Mr Gow said. "There is a pretty fair chance of a connection as we are all connected to the North Pine Dam."

But Ms Bligh said there was "almost a zero chance" of any health risk.

"We have been able to identify residents who have been affected and they will be provided with a written document today," she said.

Speaking in Townsville, "the only city in Queensland that has had fluoridated water for decades", she said the city was proof of the benefits of fluoridation.

"The dental health of children here is significantly better than any other part of the state," she said.

Brisbane Veterinary Service manager Tabatha Whitehead said the northside facility had not received any cases and were unsure what affect fluoride had on animals.

"It is difficult to know if this could contribute to any illness in any household pet," she said.

See - Courier Mail - Wrong date given for fluoride overdose in water.

Can Anna Bligh and her team get anything right ...


Anonymous newswatch said...

The Chronicle:

Councillor raises fears over fluoride

16 May 2009

TOOWOOMBA Regional Council Water Services spokesman Paul Antonio yesterday said the State Government needed to get its act together to prevent another fluoride contamination.

About 4000 Brisbane residents were affected after 300,000 litres of contaminated water were pumped to northern Brisbane homes for three hours on May 1 after a plant malfunction delivered 20 times the allowable limit of fluoride into the water supply.

Cr Antonio said there was no guarantee a similar mishap wouldn’t happen in Toowoomba when fluoride is introduced early next year.

“That was clearly a systems failure,” he said.

“The State Government has mandated this so they have some serious responsibilities when they’re dealing with anything being put into the water system.

“They have to make sure the systems they are going to put in place are as fail-safe as possible.”

Cr Antonio said Toowoomba had highly regarded experts who are part of the strategy being developed to monitor the Toowoomba system.

“And I’ve got the greatest faith in those people,” he said.

11:37 AM, May 16, 2009

Anonymous newswatch said...

ABC News:

Govt admits date mix-up in fluoride overdose

16 May 2009

The Queensland Government says it was out by a day on the date of a fluoride overdose north of Brisbane.

Water with fluoride levels 20 times the recommended maximum was delivered to about 4,000 households in Warner and Brendale two weeks ago due to an equipment malfunction.

Last night authorities said the incident happened on May 2, not May 1 as previously reported.

The fluoride problem was revealed on Thursday and Premier Anna Bligh has defended the delay.

Shey says test results took 12 days and she was advised about the malfunction on Wednesday night.

12:43 PM, May 16, 2009


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