Apex park water dispute

Sydney Water responds to Seven's claims: "Not a single test result has exceeded the recommended safety limit of 10 micrograms per litre in drinking water under Australian Drinking Water Guidelines."
Sydney Water responds to Seven's claims: "Not a single test result has exceeded the recommended safety limit of 10 micrograms per litre in drinking water under Australian Drinking Water Guidelines."

About a week ago Seven News Sydney aired a story about their investigation into Sydney’s water after taking 16 water samples from sites across Sydney to be lab-tested by EnviroLab for metal contaminants.

And for some residents, it raised concerns when the sample from Liverpool’s Apex Park was found to contain 13 micrograms of lead per litre, considered 30 per cent over the safety limit of 10 micrograms.

People have been complaining about it for years.

Facebook user.

One person said on Seven News Sydney’s Facebook post: “People have been complaining about it for years and get told it's because of old water pipes. The funny part is the homes are in new housing estates which used to be farms so all through the estate it's new pipes.”

Seven News Sydney news director Jason Morrison was happy to share the lab results with us.

He conceded it was a one-off test as opposed to Sydney Water’s regular testing but the results still “raised enough concerns for us to report the story”.

In response, Sydney Water said there have been no red flags from the water they’ve tested and that the water samples tested by EnviroLab could have shown high levels of lead due to other variables. 

“Sydney Water has taken 145 water samples in the Liverpool area since 2010 as part of its regular testing program across its operations. The samples are tested for a range of substances, including lead,” the Sydney Water spokesman said.

“During this time not a single test result has exceeded the recommended safety limit of 10 micrograms per litre in drinking water under Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

“Under its operating licence, Sydney Water must implement the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Water quality performance is audited by IPART every year and must be to the satisfaction of NSW Health.”

Sydney Water also said the park was not their asset.

“It’s understood the sample was taken from a park, which is not Sydney Water’s asset. The result of the water sample taken in Liverpool could have been affected by variables including low levels of lead coming from the private plumbing materials in the park.”

Liverpool Council would investigate substantiated concerns about water quality in council parks and properties.

Kiersten Fishburn

But Liverpool Council chief executive Kiersten Fishburn said water taken from the outlet was from Sydney Water.

“All water in Apex Park is provided by Sydney Water. Liverpool Council would investigate substantiated concerns about water quality in council parks and properties,” she said.

She clarified while there was no drinking fountain in Apex Park there was a water outlet used for gardening with water from Sydney Water.

Seven News Sydney told us taps flowed for five minutes before collecting water samples. However, Sydney Water was unaware of EnviroLab’s methodology.

“The elevated reading is also more likely if water had been sitting in the private plumbing pipes for any length of time prior to the sample being taken.

“While Sydney Water is not aware of the method used to take the water sample in question, turning the tap on briefly before testing or consuming will usually result in a lower level being achieved.

“Sydney Water filters every drop of water to ensure safe drinking water is provided and it meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines treatment requirements – some of the strictest in the world.”

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