Water restrictions to continue as manganese fouls Glen weir

WATER RESTRICTIONS: Glen Innes will remain on highest-level water restrictions for a little longer despite recent rainfall says Director Keith Appleby. Picture: Andrew Messenger.
WATER RESTRICTIONS: Glen Innes will remain on highest-level water restrictions for a little longer despite recent rainfall says Director Keith Appleby. Picture: Andrew Messenger.

Manganese contamination of the Glen Innes weir will keep the town on top-level water restrictions for as long as another month despite recent rainfall, according to a council director.

The Beardy Waters is currently completely full after nearly 70mm of rain this month.

But Glen Innes's longest ever period on water restrictions will go on yet with storm flows and vegetation growth in the weir causing manganese contamination in the town's water supply, said Director of Infrastructure Services Keith Appleby.

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"The water quality is really poor in the weir because all the vegetation growing in there that is now rotting.

"We wouldn't be able to use it directly into the plant at the moment because there's high levels of manganese in the supply

"And we don't particularly want to top up the off-stream storage with it while it's poor quality. We could, it wouldn't be the end of the world, but we'd rather wait until it flushes itself out a bit more."

The town is currently drinking water from its backup off-stream storage the Eerindii ponds.

Manganese contamination happens when a bacteria in dirty water takes the chemical off the dam floor and turns it soluble.

Because the chemical is soluble in water council engineers can't treat it easily except by aeration into Eerindii. Glen Innes will just have to wait for natural process to solve the problem.

Manganese build-up is a normal function of monsoon-levels of rain, but was exacerbated by vegetation growth in the weir while it was largely empty during the drought.

Mr Appleby's best guess is cleaning it out could take a month.

He hoped most gardeners would be understanding of the decision to maintain highest-level water restrictions, which he said was the safer option. As long as rain continues they can water their gardens the old fashioned way, he said.

Meanwhile the truck wash has been opened in order to take pressure off business that rely on it.