Water Quality and Treatment

Drinking Water Quality

Council supplies drinking water quality water to the residents of Dubbo, Eumungerie, Mogriguy, Wellington, Geurie, Mumbil, Brocklehurst, Wongarbon and Ballimore. Drinking water is also sometimes called “potable” water. Non-potable water refers to water that cannot be directly consumed safely. Council has adopted a Drinking Water Quality Policy to ensure that customers can drink Council's tap water with confidence.

drinking water management

The generally accepted drinking water quality guidelines for drinking water quality in Australia and New Zealand today are developed and updated by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).  The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011 also reflect these international guidelines, such as those developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the results of current medical research.  Below are the accepted values for various parameters and a value typical of Dubbo’s Water supply:

Parameters ADWG - 2011 Typical Dubbo Water Value

Hardness as CaCO3
 200 mg/l  80 mg/l
 6.5 – 8.5  7.5 – 8.5
Taste & Colour 
 Not Necessary  Acceptable to most people
Total Dissolved Solids  600 mg/l  250 mg/l
 True Colour Not Necessary  <5TCU 
 Turbidity <5 NTU  <1 NTU 
 Thermotolerant Coliforms None in 100 ml 
 Total Coliforms # No guideline value set #
 Chlorine (Max) 5 mg/l  1.40 mg/l 
 Aluminium <0.2 mg/l  <0.1 mg/l 
 Ammonia as NH3 <0.5 mg/l  0 mg/l 
 Antimony <0.003 mg/l  <0.003 mg/l 
 Arsenic <0.01 mg/l  <0.001 mg/l 
 Barium  <2.0 mg/l  <0.009 mg/l
 Boron <4.0 mg/l  <0.3 mg/l 
 Cadmium <0.002 mg/l  <0.001 mg/l 
 Chloride <250 mg/l  <80 mg/l 
 Chromium (as CR (VI))  <0.05 mg/l <0.01 mg/l 
 Copper <2.0 mg/l  <0.7 mg/l 
 Cyanide <0.08 mg/l  <0.08 mg/l 
 Fluoride <1.5 mg/l  0.08 to 0.12 mg/l * 
 Iron  <0.3 mg/l <0.1 mg/l 
 Lead <0.01 mg/l  <0.01 mg/l 
 Manganese <0.5 mg/l  <0.03 mg/l 
 Mercury <0.001 mg/l  <0.0001 mg/l 
 Nitrate (as NO3) <50 mg/l  <8 mg/l 
 Nitrite (as NO2) <3 mg/l  0 mg/l 
 Selenium <0.01 mg/l  <0.005 mg/l 
 Sodium <180 mg/l  <60 mg/l 
 Sulphate  <250 mg/l <30 mg/l 
 Zinc <3 mg/l  <0.3 mg/l 
 Hydrogen Sulfide <0.05 mg/l  0 mg/l 
 Iodide <0.1 mg/l  <0.1 mg/l 
 Molybodenum <0.05 mg/l  <0.05 mg/l 
 Nickel <0.02 mg/l  0.02 mg/l 
 Silver  <0.1 mg/l <0.1 

  * Due to operational reasons Council is unable to add additional fluoride to the Dubbo water supply service area.

  # No guideline value has been set for Total Coliforms



Dubbo Regional Council's Water Treatment Plants are licenced by the NSW Environment Protection Authority, and backwash water discharged to the Macquarie River must be monitored in accordance with the terms of the licences.

John Gilbert Water Treatment Plant - EPA Licence 11694 (PDF 124.7KB)

Wellington Water Filtration Plant - EPA Licence 428 (PDF 159.5KB)

The following tables contain monthly monitoring data showing the acceptable ranges of pollutants in the backwash water as determined by the EPA, and the actual measurement of the pollutants present. 

John Gilbert Water Treatment Plant 2021/2022 (PDF 103.5KB)

John Gilbert Water Treatment Plant 2020/2021 (PDF 110.2KB)

John Gilbert Water Treatment Plant 2019/2020 (PDF 106.7KB)

John Gilbert Water Treatment Plant 2018/2019(PDF 443.3KB)

John Gilbert Water Treatment Plant 2017/2018 (PDF 209.7KB) 


Wellington Water Filtration Plant 2021/2022 - Point 2 (PDF 96.1KB)

Wellington Water Filtration Plant 2020/2021 - Point 2 (PDF 101.1KB)

Wellington Water Filtration Plant 2019/2020 - Point 2 (~~~DocAnnotation.type.41854~~~ 103KB)

Wellington Water Filtration Plant 2018/2019 - Point 2  (PDF 102.3KB)
Wellington Water Filtration Plant 2017/2018 - Point 2 (PDF 205KB)

Wellington Water Filtration Plant 2021/2022 - Point 3 (PDF 96.5KB)
Wellington Water Filtration Plant 2020/2021 - Point 3  (PDF 101.6KB)
Wellington Water Filtration Plant 2019/2020 - Point 3 (PDF 103.6KB)
Wellington Water Filtration Plant 2018/2019 - Point 3 (PDF 102.9KB)
Wellington Water Filtration Plant 2017/2018 - Point 3 (PDF 205.7KB)

Pollution Incident Response Management Plan (PIRMP)

Council has developed Pollution Incident Response Management Plans that will guide Council's response in the event of any pollution incidents that may occur at the John Gilbert Water Treatment Plant (PDF 127.4KB) and Wellington Water Treatment Plant. (PDF 129.3KB)

Boil Water Notices

Sometimes a breakdown in part of the water treatment process means the treatment of water is not completed and it is not safe for customers to consume it. In such cases, water utilities, such as Council, issue Boil Water Notices.


These Notices are issued by Council and the NSW Department of Health when the water treatment process has been compromised, or may have been compromised. Council will deliver Notices to all affected properties. Residents should also consult Council’s website and the media.


Council will deliver Notices when the Boil Water Notice is withdrawn.


What to do when a Boil Water Notice is declared in your area

Affected drinking water can be made microbiologically safe by bringing the water to a rolling boil. Electric kettles with automatic shut off switches are sufficient for this purpose and should reduce the risk of scalding.  Variable temperature kettles should be set to boil.  Water should then be allowed to cool and stored in a clean container with a lid and refrigerated.

Cooled boiled or bottled water should be used for: cooking, washing uncooked foods (such as seafood and salad), making ice, pet’s drinking water, brushing teeth & gargling, sponge bathing young children, preparing baby formula, and  washing toys and children’s utensils.

Children should take bottled water or cooled boiled water to school.

Unboiled water may be use for:

  • Showering and bathing (avoid swallowing water).  As a precaution babies and toddlers should be sponge bathed to prevent them swallowing water

  • Dishes should be washed by hand in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher and air-dried before use. 

  • Washing clothes

  • Garden irrigation

Further information regarding public health and drinking water is available from the NSW Health brochure (PDF 79KB).

Water Sampling

Council operates its water supply system ensuring the water quality meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines 2011 (ADWG) and NSW Health standards.

Our water quality monitoring program consists of sampling and testing of critical points within our treatment process and delivery system.

  • Treatment Plant - Samples are taken to monitor the source water quality which can vary due to catchment conditions.
  • Water Supply System - Samples are taken from various locations within the reticulation system and provide a typical profile of the quality of water being delivered to customers.

Water Mains Cleaning

Council periodically undertakes a system wide water mains flushing program to protect the quality of the drinking water supply to residents, and to minimise the risk of water main breaks.  This program is part of Council’s ongoing maintenance of the water reticulation network.

Council frequently tests water quality throughout the system to check that the water remains safe to drink and meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Fluoridation of drinking water

Why fluoridate?

The NSW Department of Health (DoH) encourages water supply authorities to fluoridate their water supplies in order to protect the public’s teeth and reduce tooth decay.

Council adds fluoride to its drinking water in some of its Treatment Plants. Some water supply schemes have natural fluoride in the water source.

Why is dental decay a problem?

Dental health is fundamental to one's overall health. A healthy mouth enables a person to eat, speak and socialise without pain or discomfort. Dental decay is the most common health problem of any type in Australia. 

How long has NSW had water fluoridation?

Fluoride has been added to most water supplies in NSW, commencing with Yass in 1956. In NSW alone there are more than 50 years experience proving the effectiveness and safety of water fluoridation. Most Australians have had water fluoridation for 25-50 years. NSW has one of the highest levels of water fluoridation, approximately 95% of the population has access to fluoridated water.

When was Dubbo’s water supply first fluoridated?

The former Dubbo City Council started fluoridating town water in September 1984.
The new fluoride dosing equipment uses a liquid called hydrofluosilicic acid.

Fluoride Dosing System?

The dosing system at the John Gilbert Water Treatment Plant uses a liquid called hydrofluorosilic acid, which is a liquid at room temperature. It has been designed to prevent any dosage higher than the recommended level, in accordance with the Code of Practice for the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies. 

The dosing system at the Wellington Water Treatment Plant uses sodium fluorosilicate, a crystalline powder, suitable for use in dry feed equipment.

The fluoridation at the Water Treatment Plants is strictly controlled with staff having specialised training and the system under the supervision of the NSW Department of Health (DoH).

Who benefits from water fluoridation?

Australia has relied on community water fluoridation as its main mode of delivering optimal fluoride. This provides universal dental decay and preventative benefit to all individuals regardless of age, gender and socio-economic status.

Is water fluoridation NSW policy?

It is NSW Health policy to fluoridate water in NSW as it remains an effective, efficient, socially equitable and safe approach to prevention of cavities in Australia.




Last Edited: 01 Jun 2022

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