In South East Queensland, chlorine is added to the water to protect customers from contamination. We maintain a level of chlorine in the water network to kill any disease-causing organism which may get into the water supply pipes after treatment. 

You may be able to smell or taste the chlorine in the water when the amount of chlorine added is changed for various operational reasons.  If you live near one of the dosing facilities you may notice changes in the chlorine levels in the water.

Is chlorine harmful?

We monitor chlorine throughout the network with online monitoring, laboratory and field testing. Chlorine levels are assessed against criteria described in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011, published by the Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council. These National guidelines have determined the level at which chlorine is safe in drinking water.

What you can do

Chlorine will dissolve from drinking water if you allow it to stand for a few hours in a glass. Aerators on taps and some types of in-line commercially available filters can help reduce the amount of chlorine in drinking water. If you are still concerned with chlorine at your property, or are seeking more information, please call us on13 26 57 (8am-6pm weekdays).

Other Tastes and Odours

The water we distribute to our customers originates from a variety of catchments, each with different characteristics and taste profiles.

Below is a list of typical taste descriptions and what they may mean for your water quality.

Taste Description Possible cause
Chlorine / pool water Likely to be due to a change in source water. See the section above about Chlorine for more information.
Musty or earthy
Bacteria living in the soil secretes compounds which can cause an earthy or musty taste in water. After rain, these compounds can wash in to rivers and dams.  These compounds are the same ones which cause the characteristic ‘rain smell’. When the water is treated, these compounds are not removed by the conventional water treatment processes.

We regularly monitor for these compounds and expect their levels in the drinking water to increase after rain, however these compounds do not have adverse health effects.

Technical Note: The above compounds are 2-methyisoborneol and Geosmin, which we monitor monthly.  
Petrol or solvents
A potential cause of this smell is spilled chemicals permeating into your plumbing through ‘plastic’ pipes. If you, or people working around your property have spilled any petroleum-based products around your property (petrol, oil, turps, methylated spirits and some pesticides) these can leach through your plastic pipes.

If you believe that this has occurred on your property, check with your neighbours to confirm whether they are experiencing a similar taste or odour to their water.

If the taste or odour is isolated to your property then you will need to contact a licensed plumber to assist you in resolving the issue.  If necessary, we can assist you with tests to confirm the source of contamination. Please contact us to find out how we can help.

If you are concerned about the taste or smell of your water, contact us on 13 26 57 (8am-6pm weekdays) or 13 23 64 (24/7).