Water taste mystery

Florence Lawrence says her tap water tastes “off”.
Florence Lawrence says her tap water tastes “off”.

Cooloongup resident Florence Lawrence was dismayed to learn of the three-year trial and feared it was to blame for a change in the taste of her, and neighbours’, tap water in her suburb and nearby Waikiki.

A Water Corp spokeswoman said no customers in Perth had been supplied with the recharged, recycled water.

‘There has not been any recycled water abstracted and used for drinking water,’ she said.

‘During the trial, recycled water (treated to drinking water standards) was recharged to the confined Leederville Aquifer between 120m and 220m below the surface, where it mixes with the vast quantities of natural groundwater in the aquifer.

‘The recharge bore is many years travel time from our nearest drinking water bore.’

Mrs Lawrence said she and her neighbours had noticed their water start to taste ‘off’ about six months ago, and had changed their tea bags seven or eight times to try and get rid of the ‘peculiar’ taste.

The Corporation didn’t provide an explanation of why local water may have changed in taste, but did say that groundwater replenishment in the Kwinana and Rockingham area was a lower priority as aquifer conditions were not as favourable.

‘At this stage,we are only investigating a groundwater replenishment scheme to be built near the Beenyup Wastewater Treatment in Craigie,’ she said.

‘The trial was approved by the Health, Water and Environment and Conservation departments, and the Environmental Protection Authority.

‘There is no chance that human health could be impacted, as the treatment process is designed to remove all pathogens from the water, the plant is constantly monitored to ensure it is operating correctly, and flows are diverted if any part of the plant is not operating correctly.

‘Health Department guidelines would ensure water is safe before it is recharged to the aquifer, the water is recharged in a location many years travel time away from drinking water bores, and any water abstracted is treated again in existing drinking water treatment plants for pathogen removal prior to being supplied to customers.’

She said rigorous monitoring and testing during the trial, including testing for pathogens, chemicals and other substances, were all successful.

During the trial, more than 62,300 water quality results were obtained and met stringent health and environmental guidelines set by trial regulators.