THE City of Greater Geelong has switched off about 30 public drinking fountains while it investigates reports of high levels of lead.
In March, the city tested a random sample of its public drinking fountains and found levels of lead in some fountains above the federal government’s National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
Last month, the city started testing all of its more than 140 drinking fountains across the municipality, with results expected in the coming weeks.
As a precaution, the council has switched off the affected fountains and as a precautionary measure, started flushing all drinking fountains that are still operational.
The City of Greater Geelong has stressed that the water supplied by Barwon Water is completely safe to drink – the problem is not related to the quality of the supplied water but with the public drinking fountain infrastructure, which contains lead pipes and is believed to be a particular issue in less frequently-used fountains.
“We’re taking a precautionary approach, supported by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and are turning off the public drinking fountains found with levels of lead and other metals higher than the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines while we investigate the source of the lead,” acting Geelong chief executive officer Brett Luxford said.
“We’ve also started a regular flushing program, which assists in reducing any potential lead levels in the public drinking fountains that we’re waiting on test results for.
“We expect a full list of tests results on the more than 140 public drinking fountains across Greater Geelong in the coming weeks, and will ensure all affected fountains are switched off while we work with industry experts, including DHHS, Barwon Water, DELWP and the Victorian Building Authority to address this issue.”
For more information about Greater Geelong’s water quality, phone Barwon Water on 1300 656 007.
For more information about the health impacts of lead, head to betterhealth.vic.gov.au.