Page 3294 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 October 2022

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The Committee recommends that ICON Water should provide as part of the recorded message on known issues a pathway option to leave customer feedback.

I note that this recommendation was agreed to in principle, and that Icon Water explained that its telephone system does not currently have the functionality to provide a pathway option for a customer to leave feedback but that it has an upgrade scheduled in the coming years which might provide this opportunity.

As I said, this may mean that people do not end the phone call but stay on the call or have a pathway to make a complaint, which then must be passed onto the ICRC. It is all intended to work in that way. Having made those comments about the discolouration of our water recently, I would like to thank Icon Water for all of their hard work in providing Canberra with safe drinking water. I look forward to talking with them more at the annual report hearings, which will be coming up sooner than we all might like, and to hear what else they have been doing to ensure that Canberra has the best possible drinking water.

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (11.48): The budget outlook notes, on page 276, that Icon Water Limited is currently self-funding a range of capital works projects across the territory. One of these, the Belconnen trunk sewer upgrade project, is being completed in my electorate of Ginninderra, though it has been delayed by both COVID and rain. Part of this project is the construction of four new odour control units—two in Latham, one in Florey and one in Evatt. The Evatt unit is visible from Ginninderra Drive, near the dam wall for Lake Ginninderra. The Florey unit can be seen from Kingsford Smith Drive, and the two units in Latham can also be seen from Ginninderra Drive and Southern Cross Drive respectively.

Prior to the commencement of construction, Icon Water prepared a fact sheet for residents regarding these new odour control units. The fact sheet includes the question, “Do they smell?” followed by a strong assurance: “They are designed to treat odours, so they do not smell.” Unfortunately, this assurance may not always be accurate. Three odour control units exist on the edge of west Macgregor, two within 160 metres of the nearest homes and one only 90 metres away. On more than one occasion I have been told by residents who live near these two odour control units that they smell like rotten eggs, especially when days are very hot and the winds blow from the west.

A rotten egg smell strongly suggests the escape of hydrogen sulphide. In fact, the Icon Water fact sheet notes that hydrogen sulphide is a common source of odour from sewage systems. I have previously raised residents’ concerns about the construction of these four new odour control units, and I stand to raise those concerns again today because, like the units on the edge of west Macgregor, these four odour control units will be located near residential areas in Evatt, Latham and Florey. I realise that the computer modelling in the air quality impact assessment, which forms part of the Belconnen trunk sewer project’s environmental impact statement, predicts that emissions from hydrogen sulphide from these units will be within acceptable limits. Modelling specifically forecasted that this noxious gas will be detectable by nearby residents, on average, for fewer than two minutes each day. Of course, if the ability to smell hydrogen sulphide primarily happens on hot summer days and does not happen at all the rest of the year, a daily average may mask what the impact will be during the warmer months.

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