Water Quality

What is Water Reticulation

Water reticulation is the distribution of potable water from Council reservoirs to consumers via a network of pipes. The water supplied is of potable quality; potable meaning drinkable.

Hobart Water supplies water to Council from three main catchment areas; River Derwent Mount Field National Park and Mount Wellington.

Council applies no treatment to the water. This is all conducted by Hobart Water. When the water reaches houses it has already undergone a significant treatment process. This includes the addition of fluoride and chlorine.

The water is held in a reservoir, like a 'holding tank'. Water both enters and leaves a reservoir. Council has 23 reservoirs throughout the municipality.

Drinking water is provided to many households in the urban areas of the municipality. This is for domestic and commercial use. The treated water is carried from various reservoirs to consumers via a network of water mains and water pipes. This network is called reticulation.

From the reservoirs, water travels through a trunk water main (high pressure main). If the pressure needs to be reduced to a useable level, this will then feed into a break pressure tank. There are 6 break pressure tanks in the municipality. If break pressure tanks weren't used where needed, house fittings would be unable to cope with the high water pressure. Break pressure tanks are only required when the reservoir is of a high level and the houses off that reservoir's network of pipes is at a low level i.e-Boronia Hill Reservoir feeds Kingston Beach via a break pressure tank at Auburn Road. From the trunk water main (or break pressure tank where required), there are a series of water mains and water rods. It is through the water mains and water rods (and the house connections off these lines) that households receive their potable water.

Potable Water Testing of Reticulated Water

Council undertakes sampling of potable water as required in accordance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and the Public Health Act 1997.  Hobart Water conducts this on Council's behalf.  They also undertake on-site testing of pH, residual chlorine and turbidity (colour).

Each site is sampled fortnightly.  The sites are indicative of the water provided to households from Council's reservoirs.  Council applies no treatment to the water. Microbiological analysis is undertaken on the water. The parameters tested for are coliforms and thermotolerant coliforms.  These are both indicator organisms of faecal contamination. 

Bi-annual end of line chemical sampling and annual full chemical sampling is also undertaken.  This provides additional information relating to the chemical composition of the water.

Private Water Sampling & Analysis

Council's Environmental Health staff are able to sample private water supplies upon request e.g- tank water, bore water, spring etc. Refer to Council's Fees and Charges Schedule for costs associated with water sampling.

Bacteriological samples are analysed using two parameters, both of which are indicator organisms for faecal contamination.  These are coliforms and thermotolerant coliforms. This type of testing will generally identify whether or not there is bacteriological contamination in the water.  This may assist in determining if there is a problem or if the water is suitable for the intended purpose. 

This involves an Officer:

  • Coming out to the property and taking the sample.
  • Delivering it to the Public Health Laboratory at the Royal Hobart Hospital for analysis.
  • Sending a copy of the results, once received, together with an explanation of what they mean and any other necessary information.
  • Sending an invoice for payment.

Testing can be done independent of Council, in conjunction with the relevant laboratory.  The cost for this will need to be obtained from the relevant laboratory e.g - Public Health Laboratory (phone (03) 6230 7035).  Bottle collection, sample collection and delivery of the sample etc will all need to be undertaken by the customer.

Chemical analysis (e.g - metals) can also be undertaken at another laboratory.  Different parameters can be tested depending on the type of water and the perceived problem.  This can be more expensive than bacteriological testing.

For further information please phone (03) 6211 8200.

Food Businesses on Tank Water

Tank Water Management






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