White/cloudy water in Perth’s northern suburbs

Alkimos, Burns Beach, Butler, Clarkson, Eglinton, Iluka, Jindalee, Kinross, Merriwa, Mindarie, Quinns Rocks, Ridgewood.

UPDATE – 9 February 2018

We believe this issue is now resolved and we thank you for your patience. If you have any concerns or questions about your water, please call us on 13 13 75.

Your concerns

We have received reports from several residents living in the suburbs above that their water appears white/cloudy when it is boiled.

We understand white/cloudy water is not visually appealingly and it may cause some concern. However, please be assured your water is safe for use.

White / cloudy water

White/cloudy water is a result of elevated water hardness. Hardness is a measure of the concentration of calcium and magnesium salts in water. The water we supply to these suburbs comes from bores and has naturally higher levels of hardness due to the presence of these minerals.

When hard water is boiled, carbon dioxide is released and calcium carbonate precipitates making the water white/cloudy – that’s why your cold water should be clear but your hot water is not. We manage the hardness of the water through our water treatment process. Our treatment plant at Neerabup reduces hardness to a level that does not exceed the aesthetic guideline value in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (total hardness should not exceed 200 mg/l).

Our response

While there is no obvious reason why the white/cloudy water has recently become more noticeable - as hardness levels are similar to previous years - we are taking the issue seriously. Our water quality experts, engineers and plant operators are working together to trial different technical solutions to minimise the potential for white/cloudy water when it is boiled.

These technical options include

  • Temporary adjustments to the treatment process that we believe will make an immediate improvement to water quality. This option is feasible in the short-term.
  • In the long term, we are investigating if processes at the treatment plant can be permanently modified. If this is viable this could take approximately 3-4 months for us to implement.
  • Work with the Department of Water and Environment Regulation to determine if more water from softer bores can be used to blend with water from harder bores in the area. We have certain allocations from bores that we must comply with to ensure groundwater use remains sustainable. This is a longer-term option.

In 2018, we also have a major upgrade planned for the treatment plant to cater for future growth in the area. As part of this project, our engineers will also consider if any other changes should be made to the plant to ensure both the health and aesthetic water quality guidelines continue to be met.

We are sorry for any inconvenience the white/cloudy water may cause, and while this is an aesthetic water quality issue, we acknowledge local residents’ concerns. Please be assured that the water we supply complies with 100% of the health requirements specified in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. We have a comprehensive water testing regime to ensure we consistently provide safe drinking water that meets this criteria.

Next steps

This page will be kept up-to-date with the progress we make to resolve the issue.

More information on water hardness can be found here or, if you would like to discuss your water quality concerns, we can be contacted on 13 13 75.