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2018 Tap Water Contamination Alert

Brown water tap

In July 2018, enHealth issued a tap water alert across Australia about the possibility of lead contamination in tap water. enHealth is the Environmental Health Standing Committee which represents the Commonwealth, state and territory health department and monitors potential public health risks. Despite the possible severity of this issue, especially for young children, this alert has not been widely publicised and for many this may be the first you’re hearing of the problem. As we enter the warmer months and our water usage rises Waterlogic wanted to raise this issue again and provide advice on how to make sure you avoid the risks.

Though the use of lead in water piping is rare in Australia, you may not know that lead is still used in the manufacturing of a range of plumbing products. Most commonly its use can be found in plumbing products with brass fittings. These products are widely used in drinking water systems in homes, buildings and associated water supply points, such as drinking water fountains and has been the motivation for the recent tap water alert. A federal health department spokesman said enHealth’s “guidance statement” to not use hot tap water for drinking or cooking and to flush cold-water taps in the morning “acknowledges the risks associated with lead and the need to minimise an individual’s exposure as much as possible”. The statement’s strongest warning is for new parents, declaring “infants who drink formula prepared with lead-contaminated water may be at a higher risk because of the large volume of water they consume relative to their body size”.

Along with avoiding hot water taps for drinking and cooking and running cold taps for 30 seconds before use are the following guidelines have been given to homes by enHealth to make sure that you protect your home from any lead contamination risk:

  • Flushing cold water taps used for drinking and cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes after long periods of non-use, such as return from holidays; this ‘flushed’ water can be collected and used for washing up
  • Choosing plumbing products that have been certified to WaterMark and AS/NZS 4020:2005; and/or have low lead content or are lead free, when renovating or building.
  • Using water from cold taps only for drinking and cooking
  • Flushing cold water taps used for drinking and cooking for about 30 seconds first thing in the morning to draw fresh water through the tap

As of yet there is no need for households to have water tested for lead and the official recommendation is to follow the good practice measures outlined above.

However, Waterlogic agrees with public outrage over the wastage of water that ensues with flushing taps every day, particularly during one of the worst droughts in Australian history.


If you’re interested in taken more action to protect your tap water contact one of Waterlogic water experts. Our water dispenser systems can remove contaminants such as lead through carbon filtration removing the risk from your home and workplace.