Billimari Non-Potable Water Supply Unsafe to Drink

The Billimari supply is a non-treated groundwater supply scheme which provides water for livestock and can be used for non-consumption domestic use by the residents of Billimari. Council have recently detected elevated levels of uranium in the existing groundwater supply and wish to remind residents that the groundwater is non-potable and should not be used for human consumption.

"It is important that residents be reminded that the groundwater in Billimari is a non-potable water resource which is defined as water that is not of drinking quality," said Mayor of Cowra, Cr Bill West.

Detections of elevated levels of naturally occurring uranium were first identified in December and additional samples were sent for confirmation testing. Results in January confirmed that the levels are above the guideline value recommend in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines for chemical toxicity, but it is below the level recommended for radiological toxicity.

"For residents with livestock, the uranium level is below the toxicity guideline level recommended for stock water in the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality, and is therefore considered safe for animal consumption," said Director of Infrastructure and Operations, Dirk Wymer.

Consumers are advised to not drink the water, or prepare food, freeze it for ice, clean their teeth or gargle with the water. The water can continue to be used for other household and external uses. Boiling the water or filtering it will not make it safe to drink.

Natural uranium is absorbed and deposited throughout the body daily, with low levels of uranium consumed through food, water and within the air a person breathes.

"Council is working to replace the current bore with an alternative bore as soon as possible but want to first make sure it meets all regulatory approvals," said Cr West.

The quality of the supply will continue to be closely monitored by Council and other authorities with advice and updates to be provided to Billimari residents when received.

For further information regarding the non-potable water supply, please contact Council's Director of Infrastructure and Operations, Dirk Wymer on (02) 6340 2070.