My water has a strong chlorine taste...

All potable (drinking quality water) water supplies are disinfected with chlorine. The addition of chlorine ensures that any pathogens (disease causing agents) are killed and that the water is safe to drink. The reticulation system is regularly monitored to ensure that appropriate chlorine levels are present to ensure there is disinfection downstream of the treatment plant and safe water is delivered to the customer's tap.

Chlorine begins to be noticeable to average persons at levels greater than 0.6 mg/L. The chlorine residual within the supply can dissipate over time and distance. To try to maintain some chlorine at the extremities of, the reticulation system, the dosage at the treatment plant is often in excess of 0.6 mg/L. As excessive chlorine may cause taste and odour problems, the dosage is carefully managed.

Customers located near the treatment source will be supplied with water that has higher levels of chlorine and could be more susceptible to the taste and smell of chlorine than those customers that are located further down the system. The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines have an upper limit of 5 mg/L.

Wannon Water is acutely aware that chorine may degrade the taste and smell of water. The need for good tasting water is therefore carefully balanced against the need to guarantee water safety.

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My water has a disagreeable taste, odour and/or smell...

Many factors may contribute to water taste, smell and odour problems. The significant factors are algae and chlorine.

Algae often grow in water storages particularly over the hotter summer months. As the bloom recedes and the algae die off they will release chemical substances into the water that may cause a disagreeable taste and odour.

Wannon Water controls potential algae problems by adopting the following management approaches:

  • Algae prevention. Wannon Water regularly monitors water storages for the presence of algae. If algae are detected in high numbers, if possible, the affected water storage will be taken off line.
  • Water Treatment. Conventional water treatment plants, like the plant serving Warrnambool, Hamilton, Camperdown, Cobden, Terang, Balmoral, Glenthompson, Casterton and Simpson treat water by a filtering process that will remove the majority of sediments and some taste and odour compounds.

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What chemicals are added to the water supply?

All potable drinking water supplies are treated to ensure that the water is safe and aesthetically pleasing. Chemicals are added to facilitate the treatment process. Below is an overview of the typical chemicals added during water treatment. For more detail on what specific chemicals are added to each treatment facility please view the Annual Drinking Water Quality Report on the Reports and Strategies web page.

  • Small quantities of Alum (Aluminium Sulphate) are added to the raw water during the treatment process. This chemical causes pollutants such as bacteria and sediments to flocculate into larger clumps that can be extracted by a clarification / filtration process. In some cases an additional chemical known as a polymer is used to assist the alum in the flocculation process. 
  • An essential part of the treatment process involves the addition of a disinfecting agent to kill off any remaining bacteria that are not extracted during the filtration process. Wannon Water uses chlorine-based chemicals such as chlorine gas or sodium hypochlorite to disinfect the water. The amount of chlorines added is equivalent to less than half a cup in an average -sized backyard swimming pool. If too much chlorine is added the taste and odour of the water may be degraded and so this process is carefully managed. 
  • Where water has to travel over long distances, ammonia is added to create chemicals (chloramines) which have superior disinfection characteristics. 
  • The addition of treatment chemicals alters the pH of the water. Lime or Soda ash is added as a final step of the treatment process to restore the pH balance.

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How do I find out what the quality of the water is?

Wannon Water provides details of its management of water quality in the Water Quality section.

Wannon Water also produces a Drinking Water Quality Annual report each year. For more information, visit the Annual Water Quality Reports page.

Wannon Water is committed to managing its drinking water supply systems effectively to provide customers with safe, high-quality water that consistently complies with the health based parameters of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Additional water quality information can be sourced from the About Water web pages on this site, or Contact Us.

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My water leaves a stain when it is boiled and/ or corrodes my hot water service

Many townships are supplemented with or solely rely upon bore water as a water supply. Bore water may contain minerals such as iron, manganese, calcium and magnesium.

Water that contains relatively high levels of calcium and/or magnesium salt is known as "hard" water. Water that contains relatively low levels of calcium and magnesium salt is known as “soft” water. When hard water is boiled, calcium and magnesium in the water can precipitate out and cause scaling in the kettles. This scale accumulation can be removed by regular cleaning.

Hard water can also accelerate the corrosion of sacrificial anode (a metal rod inside the hot water system that preferentially corrodes to protect the hot water system) and if the wrong type of sacrificial anode is used can accelerate corrosion within a hot water service.

Speak to your local plumber or your hot water system supplier to ensure you have the right type of sacrificial anode for your water supply. Find the hardness of your water supply here

Water hardness can also reduce the aesthetic properties of water by reducing the lathering of soap. However, hard water is not a concern from a health perspective.  For further information on Water Quality see the Water Quality section or Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.


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My water is discoloured

Customers served by treated water supplies should receive water that is aesthetically pleasing and consistent in quality. Water may become discoloured from disturbance of sediment in the supply system, or from corroding internal piping. Flushing the pipe can clear sediment and discoloration. Wannon Water undertakes a regular flushing program in all of its systems to prevent sediment build up. Private plumbing can also be flushed if water is a problem by running your taps on a high flow rate for a short period. Advice from professional plumbers should also be sought if internal plumbing is thought to be the cause.

The corrosion of internal copper piping may cause the water to be tainted blue/green in colour. Blue/green water is a common problem in some cities. Wannon Water is not aware of the issue occurring within this region. 

For further information, see the Water Quality section of this web site, or the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

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How do I tell where the cause is?

To determine the source of discolouration try the following steps:

  • Take two white containers (white ice-cream containers are perfect).
  • Turn on the tap closest to the meter and fill one container. Leave the tap running for a few minutes then fill the other container.
  • If the first sample is discoloured and the later sample is clear, the piping between the water main and the meter may be  the cause. If there is no difference, the water supply is the likely cause. If this is the case, please Contact Us.
  • Apply the same procedure on the tap furthest away from the meter, normally a back yard tap. If the water from the tap closest to the meter is clean and the water from the back yard tap is not, it is likely the internal plumbing is the cause and a plumber will be able to advise of a solution such as pipe replacement.

For customers served by disinfected only supplies, (including Purnim, Cavendish, Coleraine) these zones receive water sourced from a reservoir, this water is disinfection only, it is not filtered and can vary in colour with the change in the levels of suspended particle matter during the year. The sediments may be caused by algae that grow during the summer months or particles washed into the system during winter.

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What are non-potable water supplies?

Non-potable water is also referred to as non-drinking water, untreated water, raw water and in some cases regulated water.

Non-potable water is supplied by Wannon Water to customers via transfer pipelines between our catchments and reservoirs/services basins prior to the water being treated.  e.g. supply pipeline between the Grampians and supply reservoirs north of Hamilton. Colour and the amount of fine sediment may vary significantly during the year.

Non-potable water is not treated and therefore does not necessarily meet Australian Drinking Water Health guidelines, particularly with respect to microbiological parameters. There is no protection against disease-causing organisms that may contaminate the water.

Customers receiving non-potable water are advised via their water account that the water is deemed not fit for drinking purposes. 

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What is Potable water?

Water that is fit for drinking purposes is termed "potable". Drinking water must meet a number of strict health and aesthetic quality standards as specified in the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003. The region is serviced with a number of water treatment plants and monitoring is undertaken to ensure this standard is maintained at all times.

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Who is a "Water Supply Agreement" customer?

Customers that do not have access to a water reticulation main are provided a water service in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in a Water Supply Agreement. Water Supply Agreement customers are generally those customers on rural pipelines or customers on the outskirts of an urban water supply district.

Customers are asked to enter into a Water Supply Agreement contract if the pressure and or quality of water supplied can not be guaranteed. As such Water Supply Agreement customers will be supplied with either potable (drinking) or non-potable (non-drinking) water and separate agreements will be issued depending on the type of water supply the customer receive. 

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What is regulated water?

Regulated water is non-potable water that has been declared and legally gazetted by the Health Minister to be non-drinking water. It is non-potable water which many be mistaken as being drinking water.

Within the Wannon Water region there are two areas that have been declared regulated water: Darlington and the North Otway Pipeline (which includes the regions of Bostock Creek, Bungador, Carlisle River, Cobrico, Cudgee, Carpendeit, Elingamite, Garvoc, Purrembete and Framlingham).

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How do I know that my water is safe to drink?

All potable (drinking) water supplies are treated and routinely monitored to ensure that the supply remains aesthetically pleasing and safe to drink.

Drinking water must meet health and aesthetic criteria as specified by the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Act includes reference to the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines which set limits for:

  • Pathogens - these are disease causing agents that include e-coli.
  • Physical and chemical criteria such as metals, turbidity, pH and other chemicals.

For more information, visit the Water Quality section or Contact Us.

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Plumbers & Water Conservation FAQs

Does Wannon Water promote rainwater tanks?

Water is a limited resource that must be sustained and managed carefully. Although Wannon Water encourages water tanks, customers need to be aware that the use of rainwater should be limited to non-drinking activities such as gardening.

Tank water may contain many contaminants sourced from atmospheric pollution, bird and animal faeces, insects, and residues from the roof material itself. For these reasons the quality of rainwater collected off roofs may not meet desirable health standards. For further information visit the: 

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Does Wannon Water promote the re-use of household wastewater or grey water?

Grey water is the term used to describe water that is sourced from the laundry, bathroom (shower/sink) or kitchen, but not the toilet. 
The use of grey water on the garden can save drinking water supplies. However customers should note the following:

  • Grey water may contain disease causing pathogens
  • Council and EPA permission/permits are required to re-use grey water
  • The installation of any grey water system should be undertaken by a licensed plumber.

Wannon Water advises people wishing to install such a system to talk with their council in the first instance. The purchase of a grey water system may qualify for a Rebate.

For more information on the use of grey water customers are encouraged to visit theEnvironmental Protection Authority (EPA) web site, or visit savewater!'s GreySmart web site.

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