Rusty water in Gulgong

Photo by Veronica Martin.
Photo by Veronica Martin.

Residents in Gulgong have turned to social media to demand an explanation from Mid-Western Regional Council about the water quality.

Multiple photos of brown water have been posted on the Gulgong Community Group Facebook page; the first on October 15 – a day before Council undertook works to pipeline infrastructure.

The works involved connecting a new 200mm water main to the existing water main from the reservoir. 

But Gulgong resident Rylea Bell said this is not a new issue.

“My family has lived in the township of Gulgong for 10 years, and we’ve been experiencing the water issues, on and off for that whole time,” she explained.

“The water is either really dirty brown with a gross smell or sometimes it’s sluggy, like a slug coming out of the tap.

“It’s like dirt and rust.”

“There has been numerous calls to Council and we have a collection of Works Request numbers and our closest neighbour also keeps a diary about it.”

The family of six live on the outskirts of Gulgong on Black Lead Lane; there are around 10 homes on the street.

Rylea explained the rusty water occurs when the first resident on the street turns the tap on in the morning.

“Say if our neighbour uses the water first, one morning, they’ll get the worst of it, and they’ll be the ones that flush it out,” she said.

“We just leave the tap on until it’s clearer.

“It’s not a constant thing, but over the ten years we’ve lived here this has been going on and it hasn’t been fixed.”

The issue is wide spread around the town, Rylea explained, but she did admit that “Council have done repairs on some pipes, which people have said has helped”.

Mid-Western Regional Council has responded to the concerns about the water quality, explaining they are upgrading the ‘aging water and sewer infrastructure’.

“Council is continuing its long-term Water Main Replacement program, this includes a significant investment of approximately $1 million each year for the next 8 years,” a Council spokesperson explained.

In a post to social media, a Gulgong resident questioned, “How's everyone else's water? It looks clear but it's far from it.” 

“After finding out the hard way (delicate white washing now brown) 10 days ago I've run through a sacrificial white piece of clothing twice to see if it's improved and have had the same result. Council have been out to flush main in road and main st house and it improved for 2 days but now worse than ever!,” the post stated with a photo of a white and brown sock.

Another simply said, “Gotta love Gulgong water,” with a photo of a tub of yellow water.

Council have explained the works last week involved connecting a new water main to the existing water main. 

“These works may have caused water service disruption and dirty water at the time and following the works. Council appreciates residents' patience during this time,” the Council spokesperson explained.

“All residents of the Mid-Western Region are reminded if they do experience any changes to water clarity to please contact Council immediately.

The Works Request form can be found on the Council website: midwestern.nsw.gov.au/header-pages/Works-Request/ or by phoning 6378 2850.

“Council’s Water and Sewer Teams are best able to try and determine the cause of the problem whilst the issue is occurring using the Works Request process. It is often difficult for Council’s teams to assess the problem after it has occurred.”