AWQC protects public health in storm-hit Melbourne suburbs

The Australian Water Quality Centre (AWQC) plays a critical role in assuring the supply of clean, safe drinking water for communities across Australia, through our world-renowned water quality monitoring services.

This includes the supply of field sampling, laboratory testing, analysis and reporting services to Yarra Valley Water.

Following severe storms in parts of Melbourne last month, Yarra Valley Water’s customers in the towns of Kallista, Sherbrooke and The Patch were directed not to drink tap water after storms damaged a water tank.

Customers were advised the water should not be used for drinking, washing food, preparing baby formula or brushing teeth. People were also told to take special care not to ingest water when bathing or showering.

This advice was in place for three days.

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director Pat McCafferty said it was a challenging situation, and extensive testing over several days was essential to ensure water supplies were safe.

AWQC Laboratory Services teams were mobilised in response to the storm incident to provide emergency water quality sampling and testing services at sampling points across the affected suburbs.

AWQC Manager Melbourne Laboratory Mark Harb said its technicians and water quality scientists played a critical role in providing Yarra Valley Water with the required water quality monitoring services.

AWQC Senior Manager Laboratory Services Karen Simpson said she was impressed by the commitment of teams and how well they worked together to support the affected communities.

“Our Customer Services team took the first call to action and worked throughout the incident to ensure Yarra Valley Water’s emergency sampling and testing needs were scheduled and results reported,” Karen said.

“Our Sampling, Laboratory and Chemistry teams worked together to collect and test samples, so results could get to Yarra Valley Water in the shortest time possible.

"We appreciated the severity of the situation, understood our role in supporting Yarra Valley Water, and worked together around the clock to safeguard public health in the affected suburbs.

"This event really demonstrated the wonderful commitment and focus our people have on public health and how well they work together to support water utilities during challenges like this.”

David Gonzalez, AWQC Technical Officer performing water quality tests

David Gonzalez, AWQC Technical Officer performing water quality tests

Matthew Darmanin, AWQC Field Technician conducting sampling and field testing

Matthew Darmanin, AWQC Field Technician conducting sampling and field testing

Angelina Siputro, AWQC Technical Officer performing water quality tests

Angelina Siputro, AWQC Technical Officer performing water quality tests