Dust emanating from the purpose built facility that houses the fluoride equipment at Mackay’s Nebo Road Water Treatment Plant has resulted in council stopping fluoridation in the city’s urban supply until the issue can be rectified.
Council initially stopped fluoride dosing July last year due to a mechanical failure of the dosing equipment.
A series of technical repairs were carried out and as they were nearing completion, council staff identified a number of safety concerns relating to the room that houses the dosing system.
Queensland Health was advised in July last year and has been briefed in October and again in February.
Mayor Deirdre Comerford said that council would not compromise on safety.
“Safety remains of paramount importance and as this was a potential staff safety issue, there was no requirement to notify the public,” she said.
“We apologise for not letting the community know much sooner, but this is an internal workplace safety concern that our staff are looking to address.”
Chief Executive Barry Omundson said workplace, health and safety was an operational matter and was being dealt with internally by staff.
“Unfortunately the staff didn’t appreciate the wider ramifications of that decision and it wasn’t communicated to the Mayor or me at the appropriate time,” Mr Omundson said.
Water and Sewerage portfolio councilor Frank Gilbert said at no time was the public at risk.
“The issues relate to such things as safety signage, procedures and a reconfiguration of the dosing facility,” he said.
Council has been working through these issues with the equipment manufacturer, contractor and staff at the treatment plant.
“The major cause for concern for staff is dust emanating onto the floor of the purpose built room and we want to rectify that before anyone resumes work in that area,” he said.
Fluoride is still being added to the Sarina water supply as per State Government requirements.