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Wangaratta Drinking Water Supply

21 March 2018

North East Water is working with the Country Fire Authority to clean-up small pieces of asbestos cement water pipe found at the CFA station in Wangaratta.

The CFA located a small number of fragments at the site over the weekend and the Corporation has engaged a specialist asbestos contractor to decontaminate the area.

North East Water Managing Director, Craig Heiner, said the priority for both the CFA and the Corporation is to make the area safe for CFA volunteers and staff.

“The fragments have been removed from site and the contractor will conduct a thorough clean-up of the fire training pad”, Mr Heiner said.

"The water supply entering the site will be sampled and the water main flushed as a precaution to ensure the incident is an isolated event.

“Based on our investigations, we are confident the incident is limited to the fire station site. The volumes of water the CFA takes water from fire hydrants significantly exceeds the normal flow rates of our pipe network.

“This could result in small pieces of pipe fragment being drawn out through a hydrant.

Mr Heiner added, “Based on our detailed investigations, we are confident that there is no risk to other water users in the area and that drinking water is safe to consume.”

“We have been working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer (Environment), Dr Angie Bone, advises that the community does not need to take any precautions, and the water supply is considered safe to drink.

“The effects of asbestos in the water supply have been studied extensively and results show that there is no elevated risk of asbestos-related diseases from drinking or using water that has been supplied through asbestos cement pipes.

Please refer to the Department of Health and Human Services website for further information https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/key-staff/chief-health-officer/cho-noticeboard

Information about the use of asbestos cement water pipes can be found on the Water Services Association of Australia website, www.wsaa.asn.au.