Dubbo water contamination raises questions about alert times, NSW Labor says
By Gavin Coote, Sarah Gerathy and Dugald Saunders, originally posted on November 9, 2016
The health of thousands of Dubbo residents has been put at risk by a delay in alerting them to the presence of E. coli bacteria in their drinking water, NSW State Opposition says.
The Dubbo Regional Council issued an alert on Monday advising residents in the city’s central, northern and southern areas to boil their drinking water.
More than 3,000 homes and businesses have been affected by the contaminated supply.
Yesterday in question time the Water Minister Niall Blair confirmed that the water supply of up to 9,000 residents might had been affected.
But Labor’s health spokesman Walt Secord said Mr Blair needed to explain why residents were not told until Monday, when the bacteria was first detected on Thursday.
“We won’t know the actual extent of this for a few days because it takes a few days,” said Labor’s health spokesman Walt Secord.
“But yes, community health has been put at risk by this and the Government has a responsibility to make sure that NSW Health and Local government tell the community in a timely manner.”
The Dubbo Regional Council’s spokesman Stewart McLeod said low levels of E.coli were detected on Friday.
Deputy Premier happy with response to contamination
The Deputy Premier and Member for Dubbo Troy Grant has defended claims thousands of residents in his electorate were not notified quickly enough about contaminated water.
Mr Grant said he was confident the issue would be resolved as quickly as possible.
“The Dubbo Regional Council responded very quickly to put the warnings out to ensure the community had all the knowledge possible,” Deputy Premier Troy Grant said.
“The response, I’m not unhappy with.”
“I don’t know the full extent of what has occurred there and I’ll leave that to the experts at the Dubbo Regional Council,” Mr Grant said.
Concerns unsafe water hurting local business
Businesses in Dubbo are concerned about the potential economic impacts of a contamination in the water supply affecting parts of the city.
Fast food chain KFC decided to close one of its stores until the alert had been lifted.
Matt Wright from the Dubbo Chamber of Commerce said the longer it continued, the more of an effect it will have on local businesses.
“We sort of thought, well it’s a bit of an inconvenience for a few businesses around the city, but certainly as it continues to unfold I suppose it’s a bit more of an inconvenience for many businesses,” said Dubbo Chamber of Commerce President Matt Wright.