Back to the ’90’s. Return of the Evans Head Copper Pipe Corrosion Saga

Cross section of 'leaky' copper pipe removed from Evans Head home following water damage

Cross section of ‘leaky’ copper pipe removed from Evans Head home following water damage

The leaking copper pipes saga of the 1990’s which plagued Evans Head households is back with a vengeance.

VWD is aware of more than 50 homes at Evans Head affected by leaking copper pipes which are causing damage to households and keeping local plumbers busy.

The problem is not new.  In the late 1990’s many homes were affected and it was of sufficient size to prompt the then local government minister Harry Woods to come to Evans Head to address a meeting of local residents. [Woods was later defeated at the State election in a cliff-hanger vote because he failed to listen to the community about the amalgamation between Richmond River Shire Council and Casino to form Richmond Valley Council]

It was at that meeting that the Evans Head & District Water Committee Inc was formed to deal with the “blue water” issue and many other water-related matters including Richmond Valley Council’s proposed dumping of partially-treated effluent into the Evans River, later abandoned.

That committee is still in existence and is being alerted.


There were attempts to explain away the copper pipe corrosion with the explanation ‘it is probably a bad batch of copper pipe produced offshore’  but much of the pipe was Australian made (see picture at top of story with words “Kembla Australia’ in red).

But more than that it must have been a very very large bad batch as it affected houses built over many years!   And the bad batch must have been delivered to Evans Head only as houses built in Ballina and other locations at the same time didn’t develop the leaky pipes. So the problem was the water being delivered to Evans Head by Rous Water with supplement to the supply from the Woodburn bore along the Woodburn-Evans Head Road.

The pH of the water was identified by one water laboratory as the potential culprit with the acidic water corroding the pipes.

Steps were taken to treat the water which seemed to slow down the reports of leaking copper pipes but the problem has now returned begging the question has there been some change to water quality in recent time which is causing it to recur.

The change to water quality may be subtle and may not have been long lasting.  Many of the houses affected are mostly pre-2000 houses on both sides of the Evans River.

A possible explanation is that the pipes may have already been weakened by the acidic water back in 1990’s and that weakness is now showing up because of further changes to water quality since then.  Something has happened for the problem to now reappear.

This is a serious issue which must be addressed by Richmond Valley Council and its water supplier, Rous Water.

Rous Water dealt with it in the 1990’s in the following way:

Letter from the GM of Rous Water

Letter from the GM of Rous Water to the Evans Head & District Water Committee Inc.

Perhaps Rous Water and Councillor Sullivan, the chair of Rous and Richmond Valley Council need to be drawn into this matter again.

Cr Sullivan from Richmond Valley Council is chair of Rous Water.  Snip for Rous Water website

Cr Sullivan from Richmond Valley Council is chair of Rous Water. Material from Rous Water website

There is much about this matter in old council business papers and a significant mention in NSW Legislative Council Hansard:

The water problem at Evans Head was raised in the NSW Parliament.  Material shown here from the official Hansard record

The water problem at Evans Head was raised in the NSW Parliament. Material shown here from the official Hansard record in June 2000

Perhaps there is a need for a public meeting to be arranged by the Evans Head & District Water Committee Inc. to put an effective voice to council.

The copper pipe corrosion saga  must be dealt with urgently including a review of the control of water quality coming from the Woodburn Bore.

If the water from your taps is discoloured or you have a leakage problem from corroded pipes VWD suggests you speak with your plumber and also notify council.

Time for some action.

More problem with copper pipe corrosion

Copper pipe corrosion

 

 

 

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