When our dam was used for the very first time late last year, there were mixed reactions from locals.
While many felt the use finally vindicated the construction of the dam and congratulated council on their foresight, there were just as many vocal others who were horrified at the discoloured water and strong stench of chlorine pouring out of their faucets.
"The differences between the borefield water and the dam water mainly relate to turbidity and dissolved carbon, with the dam having higher levels of both. As both these properties reduce the effectiveness of chlorine disinfection it is likely that council staff will need to increase chlorine dosage so as to retain a level of residual chlorine in the reservoirs that will satisfy public health standards for potable water," Mayor Rhonda Hoban said in December.
So the community might smell and taste a bit more chlorine in our tap water but in other respects it will be the same.
Residents were advised to let drinking water stand overnight to remove the residual chlorine.
Background read:Bowra Dam likely to need a multi-million dollar filtration plant
The drought finally eased, and with it, the need to use the Bowra Dam.
But the first test of our backup supply, alongside a report commissioned by NSW Health, allowed council to see that more was needed to mitigate the risks associated with "supplying water from both its bore and dam water sources".
The end of May brought good news: the Nambucca Valley Council heard word from the State Government that they'd be eligible for up to $2 million in funding for infrastructure to help treat our water supply.
The funding is to be used for the installation of enhanced chlorine dosing facilities as well as a UV disinfection system and is provided through the Government's Critical Drought Initiative Package.
Some funding for such a project had already been included in council's 2020/21 budget, so with the additional $2 million, it's thought no more should be needed for the job.
NSW Public Works Advisory in Coffs Harbour was engaged to project manage.
The first stage of the process involves the drawing up of a concept design for the new infrastructure, and tenders for the project opened on June 19.
On Thursday night council resolved to "accept the tender submitted by City Water Technology Pty Ltd".
In the end, there may be nothing that can be done to reduce the smell and taste of residual chlorine in the water supply should the Bowra Dam be needed again.
But council is aware of the concerns that many residents had when we switched over to dam water, and we aim to find a solution for those unwanted side effects within the parameters of the new design.Assistant General Manager Engineering Services Paul Gallagher
What is for sure is the new UV disinfection treatment will increase peace of mind by eliminating more of the microscopic nasties that can sometimes be found in water supplies.