Gunnedah vet Dr Mark Baker and Hunter, New England Health's Dr Tony Merritt explore the dangers of E.coli

SAFETY FIRST: Tambar Springs residents are still having to drink boiled and bottled water due to E.coli being detected in the village's water supply last week. Photo: File Photo
SAFETY FIRST: Tambar Springs residents are still having to drink boiled and bottled water due to E.coli being detected in the village's water supply last week. Photo: File Photo

Tambar Springs residents can resume drinking from the village’s water supply after a boiled water alert was lifted.

Gunnedah Shire Council (GSC) lifted the boiled water warning on Wednesday afternoon after consulting with NSW Health.

The alert was issued after E.coli was detected in the drinking water on Friday.

“There are no longer any restrictions on the normal use of drinking water supplied to Tambar Springs,” GSC water services manager Kevin Sheridan said.

Mr Sheridan said a chlorine injector had broken down within the water supply and has been repaired. 

“GSC has increased inspections and testing during the alert period and has restored the water safety as confirmed by water testing,” he said.

Following the outbreak experts have spoken about the dangers of contaminated water. Gunnedah Veterinarian Mark Baker said his Gunnedah Saleyards clinic has permanent measures in place to prevent contamination.

“E.coli is a naturally occurring organisim which in the right conditions can be very dangerous,” Dr Baker said.

“At our clinic we operate off a rain water tank to ensure that nothing gets contaminated in either direction, coming in or out.”

HERE TO HELP: Gunnedah vet Dr Mark Baker says boiling water is the best way to ensure water is safe to drink. Photo: Billy Jupp

HERE TO HELP: Gunnedah vet Dr Mark Baker says boiling water is the best way to ensure water is safe to drink. Photo: Billy Jupp

The Gunnedah Saleyards Veterinary Clinic doctor said previous cases highlighted the ease of which E.coli can be passed.

“We saw a similar issue in Curlewis a few years ago,” he said.

“The water allows E.coli to get passed around easily and young children can be susceptible.

“In terms of livestock, most have got a stronger resistance to it than humans and it really isn’t too big a concern, however if anyone is concerned about it the only real suggestion I have is for them to boil the water for a few minutes as it is the only sure-fire of removing it from the water.”

Hunter New England Population Health’s Dr Tony Merritt said ingesting E.coli wouldn’t necessarily make a person become sick but has several symptoms when it does.

“E.coli doesn’t always make you sick,” Dr Merritt said.

“However when it does, symptoms often include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea among other things that can last for several days.

“So boiling water for a few minutes before allowing it to cool and drink is a very good way to ensure it is safe.” 

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Dr Merritt said regular hand-washing also helps to prevent illness from spreading.

“In terms of the impact it has with preventing E.coli I would say it’s not much,” he said.

“However, in terms of preventing germs from spreading I can’t recommend hand-washing and other good hygiene measures enough.

“Of course if you are concerned the best bet is to see a doctor.”

This story Tambar Springs boiled water alert lifted by council first appeared on Namoi Valley Independent.

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