Water in dams (and rivers) is called raw water, and contains a lot of dust, dirt and decomposing leaves. Before we can use the water, this material must be removed. At the water treatment plant on Mount Kynoch the dirt particles are removed through processes of flocculation and filtration. Even the fine particles are removed - they are made to join into large clumps that will be heavy enough to sink. The flocculation process uses a coagulant mixed in the water to cause this to happen. The coagulant itself is removed from the water following this process.
Raw water also contains many kinds of living organisms such as tiny plants and animals and bacteria. Most bacteria are harmless, but there are some - the pathogenic types - which can cause illness in humans. These bacteria can be removed by various treatment processes, including chlorination.
More detailed information about the water treatment process is produced in some of our education brochures. Contact Council by email or phone 131 872.
On 19 February 2013 Toowoomba Regional Council resolved not to proceed with fluoridation of the regional water schemes, but to continue fluoridating at the Mt Kynoch water treatment plant, which commenced in March 2010. This means that only residents supplied from the Toowoomba water supply scheme will receive fluoridated water.
The Toowoomba water supply scheme supplies drinking water to all of Toowoomba City, and the localities of Highfields, Cabarlah, Meringandan East, Oakey, Jondaryan, Kingsthorpe, Gowrie Junction, Gowrie Mountain, Meringandan West, Goombungee, Cotswold Hills, Torrington, Glenvale and Westbrook.
The water supplied is a mixture of treated dam water from the Mt Kynoch Water Treatment Plant and bore water supplied by up to 25 bores, although not all bores will be in operation at any one time. The average composition of water supplied across the entire Toowoomba water supply scheme in 2011/12 was 68.5% dam water and 31.5% bore water. These percentages will vary from year to year depending on dam levels, the number of bores available and changes to water quality.
The Mount Kynoch water treatment plant is the only place where fluoride is added to Toowoomba’s water supply. Fluoride is dosed to the target concentration of 0.8 mg/L, plus or minus 0.1 mg/L, as required by the Water Fluoridation Regulation 2008. Toowoomba’s bores do not contain measureable amounts of natural fluoride, meaning that the only fluoride in the drinking water supplied to residents of the Toowoomba water supply scheme is that added at the Mt Kynoch water treatment plant. In practice, this means that the amount of fluoride in the water supplied to a particular area will be directly proportional to the percentage of dam water.
Under our houses, shops and factories there is a set of pipes separate to the ones that bring us water. These pipes collect our used water and direct it toward the water reclamation facility where the wastewater is cleaned and treated.
Surprisingly, wastewater is virtually all water. In fact, 99.95% water. So a 20 litre drum of wastewater arriving at the plant contains less than a tablespoon of dirt. Although the wastewater is almost all water, it contains many different kinds of pollutants including solids (human waste, kitchen scraps, toilet paper, grease and oils, plastic bags, needles), dissolved substances (dissolved nutrients, organic matter, detergents, chemicals) and microscopic organisms (worms, amoeba, bacteria, viruses).
Recycled water is water that has been used before, and then cleaned through a series of treatments to remove impurities and it meets a standard that fits its intended use. It is a safe and valuable water source. There are different classes of recycled water, depending on the level of treatment applied and its intended use.
Queensland Health has set water quality standards for certain sources and uses of recycled water. The treatment process is strictly monitored to ensure the recycled water meets these prescribed quality standards. These requirements are set under the Public Health Act 2005 and the Public Health Regulation 2005, and regulated in Queensland under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008.
Recycled water is categorised into classes which relate to its treatment and intended use.