Lightning strike contributes to unclear Kingaroy water

The water from Kingaroy Town water has appeared discoloured over the Christmas/ New Year's break.

South Burnett Regional Council’s water team are working to resolve the discoloured water issue in the Kingaroy area.

The council issued a statement on 4 January outlining that the council apologises to the community members affected by this issue.

Damage from a lightning strike at the Gordonbrook Treatment Plant has been just one of contributing factors.

“Our team have been working non-stop over the Christmas / New Year period to identify the source of the issues. One fact stands out, and that is there is no single event has been able to be identified,” they stated.

The water quality issues have been inconsistent across the urban supply area and multiple factors have been identified to be contributing to the issue.

Community feedback directly to council is highly valued as it not only assists to rectify the immediate issue but helps to develop plans to address affected network areas.

The council wishes to advise customers that a main pipeline issue has been ongoing for several days and a change of raw water source, combined with the recent storm rainfall and surface water runoff from tributaries, creeks and rivers in the South Burnett has contributed to increased water turbidity – making it increasingly difficult to produce clear water.

Combined with this issue, the Gordonbrook Treatment Plant has taken a direct lightning strike damaging communication and other equipment. The treatment plant is being run manually with staff at the site 24 hours a day to ensure that the Kingaroy urban supply is maintained.

The current alternative water source is high in iron and manganese causing discoloured water, but when blended with the Boondooma water that is chlorinated, it is safe to drink.

In other areas of the urban area, water mains replacement and repairs may result in sediment being disturbed in the water pipes, resulting in tap water appearing discoloured. In some instances, organic material found in the main water source may also cause discolourisation.

The council has maintained a comprehensive testing regime and the water meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. It is recognised that this does not mean that the amenity of the water is to everyone’s satisfaction or to our own standards. Amenity is the colour or smell of the water.

During rainfall events, elevated dissolved iron and manganese become suspended in the water.

Conventional water treatment plants do not remove these trace elements. Liquid sodium hypochlorite (Chlorine) is used to disinfect the town water supply from virus, bacteria, and protozoans. This oxidising agent dissolves trace metals which present tea or rust coloured water.

During rainfall events, the water supply demand is low, and the by-product can be a ‘rust’ look or discoloured water within the reticulation supply.

This can at times build up in low flow areas of the network and cause pockets of discoloured water, that, while aesthetically displeasing, are bacteriologically safe.

South Burnett Regional Council Water team is working to resolve the problem with plans to air scour the pipe network and/or flush the lines where the area of discolouration is apparent.

The council would like to inform the community that their staff are working hard to resolve all challenges put forward by recent rainfall and pipeline issues.

For further information please contact Council on 4189 9100 or email