Environment & Waste

Maintaining Drinking Water Quality at Work

Drinking water quality can deteriorate once it leaves the town water supply system and enters commercial and industrial properties.

Building pipe construction, spills and leaks, as well as improper handling, usage, storage and disposal of chemicals and other materials, may expose the drinking water supply to a variety of contaminants that can impact water quality.

If you own, manage or occupy a commercial or industrial property you need to take extra care to ensure the distribution and use of water inside your property does not impact drinking water quality. It is your responsibility to ensure that:  

  • The connection design of a proposed water service to your property is inspected and approved by council prior to commencement of any related work;
  • The installation and connection of any water service is carried out by a licensed plumber with appropriate/approved plumbing materials;
  • Your water service complies with the NSW Code of Practice for Plumbing and Drainage; and
  • The water service on your property remains in good condition and free from blockages or leaks. 

Implement best management practices

It is important that you become informed of the best management practices (BMP) appropriate to your business that can protect drinking water quality.

You can implement BMP in areas such as:

  • Hazardous material usage reduction;
  • Process or design changes;
  • Operational changes, including preventative system maintenance;
  • Employee training on business operations and its impact on drinking water quality; and
  • Spill and/or leak response, notification and reporting procedures. 

Prevent contamination

Every effort should be made to avoid potential contamination of the drinking water supply by preventing the misuse of water inside your property.

Good housekeeping practices can help to avoid contamination. These include:

  • Changing water fountain filters regularly—as specified by the manufacturer—to remove accumulated impurities and reduce bacterial growth;
  • Cleaning and replacing tap aerators often;
  • Keeping containers closed while not in use;
  • Replacing manual transfer operations with pumps to reduce spills and leaks; and
  • Having a spill kit readily available so spills can be cleaned up quickly and properly. 

Install a backflow prevention device

A sudden loss of pressure in the water supply system e.g. from a burst water main, can cause water to flow out of your property back into the system.

This reverse flow - known as backflow - can result in potential contamination of the local drinking water supply.

Certain property types pose a greater risk to public health if backflow occurs. These include:

  • Chemical plants;
  • Pest controllers;
  • Market gardens;
  • Golf courses/sporting ovals;
  • Caravan parks;
  • Greywater treatment systems;
  • Metal processing plants;
  • Paint manufacturers;
  • Laundries; and
  • Nurseries. 

Council's Backflow Prevention Containment Policy requires that all commercial, industrial and multi-property residential customers connected to the water supply have installed and maintain a suitable Backflow Prevention device  at the meter at their own expense.

Additional internal backflow prevention device(s) may be required in areas within your facility where severe hazards exist.

Backflow prevention devices should be inspected and tested annually by a backflow accredited plumber to ensure they are operating correctly. These test results must be submitted to council.

Carefully discharge trade waste

Trade waste is any liquid—and any substance contained in it—produced by a business, commercial or industrial activity at a business premises. If it is not managed properly, trade waste can contaminate the water supply.

It is very important that all persons responsible for any of these types of activities utilise the most effective options available for eliminating trade waste to ensure drinking water quality, the environment and public health are all protected.

If your business discharges Trade Waste  - into the town sewerage system, you must obtain approval from council to do so. Council can also provide you with pre-treatment tips to help ensure that any trade waste discharged into the sewer meets our requirements.

Help us help you

We want to hear from you! We would like to know if you experience drinking water quality issues such as discoloured water, taste or odour; and if you notice an improvement in the quality of your drinking water. Council can be contacted regarding water quality issues 24 hours a day on (02) 4325 8222.

Bogus callers

From time to time we hear from customers concerned about phone calls from people claiming to work for or on behalf of Gosford City Council.

Bogus callers often call to discuss local drinking water quality, offer water quality tests and sell water filtration units. These individuals do not represent or act on behalf of council and we do not endorse these companies or their products.

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