GVW flood response update

We've developed a set of Frequently Asked Questions about our water and sewer services during the floods. More specific information is also available further down this page. 

FAQs - GVW services in the October 2022 floods (PDF, 157kb)

Water quality

ADVICE for NATHALIA RESIDENTS - updated 3pm Tuesday 15 December 2022

There has been significant improvement in the raw water quality in the Broken Creek since last week. As of Tuesday, the Nathalia Water Treatment Plant has returned to supplying Nathalia customers with water sourced from the Broken Creek – tankers have now stopped supplying water from the Numurkah Water Treatment Plant.

While the treatment process is removing almost all the manganese and we’re currently seeing levels well below the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines aesthetics limits leaving the plant, we know there may still be small, intermitted pockets of discoloured water as the final remnants flush out of the pipe network. We’re working hard to ensure there’s no or minimal impact to your water supply – if you notice any changes to the colour of your water, please call us any time to report an issue on 1800 454 500.

We expect water quality to remain stable, with additional fresh water continuing to flow through the Broken Creek as part of environmental flows. We’ll continuing monitoring the water quality and will update residents if there are any changes.

A bill credit has now been applied to all eligible Nathalia accounts as a result of water quality issues impacting customers after the floods. You can find out more information on our flood support information page.

A photo taken today of the raw water from the Broken Creek at Nathalia on the left, and on the right, the fully treated water supplied from the Nathalia Water Treatment Plant. 

ADVICE for NATHALIA RESIDENTS - updated 4pm Thursday 8 December 2022

We’re continuing to see daily improvements in the quality of the raw water being sourced from the Broken Creek. We expect to see levels of manganese in the raw water drop further over the weekend, as fresh water releases into the creek arrive in Nathalia to improve water quality. Currently, the level of manganese in the raw water is about 0.6 and has dropped from 0.8 yesterday.

We’re continuing to supply fully treated water from the Numurkah Water Treatment Plant via tankers to Nathalia to improve the quality of the water supply. We’ll also continue testing the water daily.

In recognition of the impact of the ongoing, intermittent water quality issues we know many customers in Nathalia have been experiencing following the October 2022 floods, we will issue a credit to all customers (residential and building occupants, including businesses) who are currently occupying a property in Nathalia. The $300 credit will be applied to your next water bill – you don’t need to do anything. We’ve got more information on the water bill credit and other flood recovery support options available on this page.

Please call us on 1800 454 500 if you continue to experience discoloured water that doesn’t clear quickly after running a tap.

We’ll provide another update early next week.

 

Treated water on the left, versus raw water quality from the Broken Creek.

 

ADVICE FOR SHEPPARTON RESIDENTS - 6 DECEMBER 2022

Customers have been in contact over the weekend concerned with the colour of their treated water supply.

Discolouration in some parts of the Shepparton treated water system is due to the sudden high usage that has come from warmer weather conditions over the last few days.

This high usage has stirred up some of the main pipelines, creating pockets of discoloured water in parts of the network.

Some customers have been able to resolve this issue by running a sprinkler or hoses to flush their pipes.

However, other customers have continued to have issues and we have had crews flushing water from hydrants over the weekend.

It will take time to move the discoloured water out of the pipe network but we expect the water to clear over the next few days.

The colour is an aesthetic issue only; the treated water in the pipe network (deleted raw water reference) and our water storages meet all health standards and we continue to deliver water that is safe to drink. But, we acknowledge that water appearing discoloured for customers can be unpleasant.

We ask people to keep calling if their water does not clear up after running your taps or a sprinkler for a while. Staff can be reached on the 24 hour Faults and Emergencies line, call 1800 454 500

ADVICE for NATHALIA RESIDENTS - updated 5.00pm 2 December 2022

Tankers started arriving in Nathalia at lunchtime today to help improve the quality of the treated water supply to Nathalia. The treated water is being transported from the Numurkah Water Treatment Plant where the raw water source quality has not been impacted by flooding.

The water quality in the Nathalia raw water supply remains poor but should improve as fresh water is released into the Broken Creek by the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority. Raw and treated water quality should both start to improve in coming days.

The colour is an aesthetic issue and the treated water continues to meet all health requirements. But we know that the water supply is appearing discoloured for some customers at the moment and that this can be unpleasant.

Please call 1800 454 500 if your water does not clear up to find out how we can help you.

Tankers will arrive at the treatment plant during the day and night – please keep an eye out and stay safe on the roads with the increased traffic.

We are sorry for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work to improve the quality of the Nathalia treated water supply.

ADVICE for NATHALIA RESIDENTS - updated 12.00pm 2 December 2022

Broken Creek water quality is still poor as a result of the floods. This is the usual raw water source to treat for town supply. We continue to focus on ensuring the water supply meet all health targets, but acknowledge that customers will be experiencing periods of discoloured water. Because the source water quality has not improved, we’re recommencing tankering treated water from the Numurkah Water Treatment Plant to supply residents in Nathalia. This will improve the water quality over the coming days.

We know that the water is appearing discoloured at the moment, for example within a bath. We are sorry for this and we are are working with the Goulburn broken Catchment Authority to get fresh water into the Broken Creek. Importantly the colour is aesthetic only and meets all health requirements, however we know discoloured can be unpleasant.

We will continue sampling the raw water upstream of the treatment plant. This will provide us with an indication of what water is heading our way. We will analyse the samples and continue to change our response accordingly.

Washing Machines: If you are experiencing discoloured water then we recommend you use a Napisan, Sard Wonder or similar product. If you notice that the washing is tainted after a wash please rinse prior to letting the clothing dry.

You will see tankers arrive at the treatment plant during the day – please keep an eye out and stay safe on the roads with the increased traffic; we’re sorry for any inconvenience.

We will keep you updated over the coming days.

If you have any issues with your water or sewer services, please contact us on 1800 454 500.

ADVICE FOR NATHALIA RESIDENTS - updated 25 November 

The raw water within the Broken Creek continues to be of a very poor nature as a result of the floods. We are primarily focussed on ensuring the water meets all health targets but we continue to optimise the treatment plant to remove as much of the material causing the discolouration as possible.

We understand and acknowledge that the water will at times appear discoloured, for example within a bath -  we are sorry for this and we are continuing to optimise the treatment plant to limit this from happening. Importantly the colour is aesthetic only and meets all health requirements. We're seeing raw water quality continue to improve during the past week. 

Flood water carrying debris into and along the Broken Creek can cause a chemical reaction that leads to low dissolved oxygen levels and high levels of minerals in the water, such as manganese. Even small amounts of manganese can cause discolouration in the water and will be noticeable against a white back drop – shower and handbasins, white linen etc.

Washing machines: if you are experiencing discoloured water then we recommend you use a Napisan, Sard Wonder or similar product. We are working with the local supermarket to increase supplies locally, however if you are experiencing issues either with your water supply or obtaining appropriate products please let us know.

If discoloured water stains your laundry, soak it in water straight away. The staining caused by discoloured water is due to particles lodged in the fabric. The stain is likely to become permanent only if the laundry is allowed to dry. You can also request a cleaning powder kit or use a non-chlorine based powder to help remove staining.

Teams continue to flush the water main system to improve areas where we are experiencing discolouration. We'll continue to monitor the area closely over coming days until water quality improves. 

We have also undertaken extensive sampling of the raw water upstream of the treatment plant. This will provide us with an indication of what water is heading our way. We will analyse this and continue to change our response accordingly.

You can report any issues to our 24/7 Customer Service Team by calling 1800 454 500. We'll keep you updated here and via text message.

ADVICE FOR BARMAH RESIDENTS - 7 November

The recent flooding has lead to a large volume of organic material (leaves, grass, soil, other natural debris) entering the Goulburn River. The river is the source water supply for treatment for Barmah residents. There is a chance that treated water could be discoloured by the high amount of organics in this source water. Some customers may detect this colour change in baths and the bases of showers.

If you notice water discolouration please contact 1800 454 500.

Drinking water supplied to your home is safe to drink. Water is fully treated and meets all quality regulations.

When floods wash leaves, grass and other organic material off riverbanks and floodplains into waterways this may result in what may be called a blackwater event. The affected water appears darker, often similar to the colour of black tea. High levels of organic matter in waterways, combined with warm weather, can cause oxygen levels in the water to drop, making it harder to treat for drinking.

Our water quality team is monitoring the raw water quality in the rivers and creeks as a result of flooding, and where needed we’re adapting our treatment processes to still supply high quality water.

We will keep you updated on the situation.

 


A tanker delivering treated water to Nathalia on Wednesday.

When floods wash leaves, grass and other organic material off riverbanks and floodplains into waterways this may result in what may be called a blackwater event. The affected water appears darker, often similar to the colour of black tea. High levels of organic matter in waterways, combined with warm weather, can cause oxygen levels in the water to drop, making it harder to treat for drinking.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Drinking water supplied to your home is safe to drink. Water is fully treated and meets all quality regulations. There are no boil water notices in place for any towns supplied by us.

Our water quality team is monitoring the raw water quality in the rivers as a result of flooding, and where needed we’re adapting our treatment processes to still supply high quality water (i.e. removing all the additional dirt and sediments in the raw water).

If you are in an area which may be impacted by flooding, we recommend you store 20 to 40 litres of water in containers for drinking in preparation for if an emergency does occur.

Sewer services

Where areas are flooded or have experienced inundation due to heavy rainfall, the sewer infrastructure may be experiencing higher than normal loads and additional pressure.

You may notice your toilet refilling slower or drains running slower – this is normal during these events. The system will return to normal in time.

In a flooding event, we advise customers to check their overflow relief gullies are not blocked. This is a small drain located outside your house, which is designed to release any overflow outside and away from your house.

The flooding or stormwater may lift lids of sewer manholes or may bubble up through. The water is stormwater but we advise people to avoid the immediate area as a precaution. If you see a sewer manhole spilling, please let us know by reporting it through our form.

If you have a critical blockage or immediate emergency, please contact us on 1800 454 500.

Emergencies with your GVW services

If you have a critical issue or emergency, we’re available 24/7 via our Customer Service Centre in Shepparton.

If you have a non-emergency issue, please report a fault here.

Stormwater/drainage is the responsibility of local councils – please check with your council for more information.

Preparing and protecting

We’re working hard to protect our facilities and infrastructure and monitoring key sites 24/7 to keep providing services to customers.

Our Incident Management Team is meeting several times a day to respond to any issues and monitor situations across flood-path-impacted areas.

We’re have operations and maintenance response units on both sides of the causeway so we can continue to respond to issues and faults in the system. Critical assets have all been protected in each flood zone.

If you’re waiting for us to respond to an issue you have raised, please be patient – our teams may need to prioritise responses with other issues, including immediate flooding responses or critical supply issues. We’ll be with you as soon as possible – thanks for your understanding.

Shepparton/Kialla

The Shepparton Water Treatment Plant (which also supplies Kialla, Congupna, Tallygaroopna, Toolamba and Mooroopna) continues to operate and water is safe to drink – there’s been no impact to the water treatment assets on site. Staff are continually monitoring the plant, including adapting the water treatment process where needed due to poorer raw water quality resulting from the floods.

The majority of sewer pump stations are back online – a few in low-lying areas near the river are still being assessed. Some residents may notice their drains running slow – this will improve as the high volumes in the sewer network reduce.

We’re continuing controlled temporary wastewater discharges from the Shepparton Wastewater Management Facility – we still have staff onsite running the plant although access is more limited.

Mooroopna

We are continuing to supply safe drinking water to residents.

WEDNESDAY

The bulk of flood water has receded and today we’ve been able to access the two remaining offline sewer pump station near Lenne St in Mooroopna. Our team has worked to get them back online successfully on Wednesday afternoon, and services have been reinstated for all customers affected by the offline pumps (south of McLennan St and west of Toolamba Rd). Your wastewater service should have returned to normal, but please contact us on 1800 454 500 if you experience any issues.

We’ve now moved all the pumping equipment off the roads, and will continue to support efforts to remove flood waters across Shepparton and Mooroopna – we’ll mobilise our main large pump at other locations across the next couple of days.

You can resume normal water use. 

The ADF helping us to move our pumps and pipework out of Lenne St today.

TUESDAY

There’s been a lot of progress in our work to pump flood waters out of Lenne St to assist Council, despite the rain this afternoon. We’ll continue pumping as long as required to remove the bulk of the water in the area.

We’re optimistic that tomorrow we’ll be able to start working to put a bypass system in place to reinstate the remainder of the sewer service in the area – we’ll also be working to repair any damaged pumps or infrastructure as needed. We thank all residents for their understanding and the way you've engaged with GVW during this time – we know this is having an impact.

We’ll have further updates tomorrow, but we ask people to still reduce the volume of wastewater produced where possible (i.e. take short showers, hold off running dishwashers/washing machines). 


Pumps onsite on Tuesday.

MONDAY

We have five large pumps in place (images below) to support Greater Shepparton City Council to pump out water from around Lenne St, with an additional pump put in place on Monday. It’s estimated that these are pumping out about 60ML/day (equivalent to 60,000,000 litres). Traffic control will be in place while pumping is occurring.

Two pump stations remain offline as they’re still flooded, but we have worked to get a subsection of the sewer network operational today, which is closest to McLennan St. This will help improve the service for residents in that area, and as we can access the two remaining pump stations, we’ll work to put in a solution to reinstate services for the remainder of the affected area (south of McLennan St and east of Toolamba Rd).

Work to clear a surcharging manhole on Lenne St is complete – we ask if people do see water coming from sewer manholes to report it to us on 1800 454 500.

We are asking residents in the affected areas to reduce the volume of wastewater entering the sewer network from their properties (i.e. showers, washing machines, dishwashers). You may notice your toilets and drains aren’t running as normal, or draining slowly - this will improve as the volume of water in the system decreases. 

We know this is having an impact on many residents who are facing significant challenges at the moment. We’re really sorry. We’re doing everything we can to get the affected parts of the sewer network online as soon as possible – we’ll keep providing updates on this page. 

If you’re in an area that is affected by offline pump stations – and because the system has been partially offline for a while – there are some temporary portaloos available if your toilet system stops working, or as an alternate option if you need it.

Portaloos available:

  • Corner Hall St and Toolamba Rd
  • Charles St opposite the playground
  • Other locations to be added as needed.
Moving one of the pumps
Placing the pipe in deeper water
Five pumps are now in place.
Positioning a new pump.
A multi-agency group work to reposition pumps to get more water out of Lenne St.
 

Streets affected by offline sewer pumping stations (South of McLennan St and east of Toolamba Rd)

Emma St
Joseph St
William St
Daisy St
Hall St
Albert St
Stanley St
Lenne St
Wood St
Howe St
Rostrata Cr
Darcy Ct
Banfield Av
Sun Ct
Brooke Ct
Wilma Ct

Issacs St
Charles St
Madge Ct
Helmer St
Lansdowne Ct
Mooredge Pl
Dawson Pl
Sunnybrook Cr
Victoria St
Bramley Ct
Toolamba Rd
McLennan St

 

 

Treated wastewater has been released from the Mooroopna Wastewater Management Facility, all under control now.

Other lagoon wastewater treatment systems not directly impacted by floodwaters.

Seymour

Water supply remains unaffected in Seymour and is safe to drink. Flooding has impacted one sewer pump station - once its safe to do so, we will dispatch crews to repair. Customers may notice slow drains or their toilet flushing slowly – this will return to normal in time once the immediate pressure on the network has reduced.

Barmah

We’ve sandbagged critical assets at the water treatment plant and put measures in place to protect and staff will monitor the water supply ahead of the flood peak arriving.

Nagambie

The raw water pump has been repaired and treated drinking water is now being supplied by the Nagambie Water Treatment Plant - it's safe to drink. Tankering from Seymour has now stopped.

One sewer pump station remains offline - once waters recede and its safe to do so, we'll send a team out to assess it. 

Other towns

Where it’s safe to do so, we’re checking water treatment plants and monitoring our infrastructure. There’s no impact to supplies to customers in towns not listed above.

Helpful links

In a flooding emergency, VIC SES is the lead response agency. If you need further information or assistance, here are some great resources we encourage you to look at.

Support information

► We've got options available to help support residents in our service area who have been impacted by the floods. Please call our friendly Customer Accounts and Services team on 1300 360 007 to find out how we can help.

► Victorians impacted by the floods can call the Flood Recovery hotline on 1800 560 760 for help with finding out what support is available and how to access it, clean-up programs, temporary accommodation, and mental health and wellbeing support. The recovery hotline is open from 7:30am to 7:30pm every day. Need an interpreter? Call the hotline on 1800 560 760 and press 9.

► You can get financial help to return home if you cannot live in your home because it is damaged or destroyed, OR you cannot access your home for more than 7 days because of flooding. This is called “re-establishment assistance” and is only available for your principal place of residence. Call the Flood Recovery Hotline on 1800 560 760 to find out if you can get financial help to return home, or visit DFFH's website for more information on the Personal Assistance Hardship Program.

► The Small Business Immediate Flood Relief Program is now open. Businesses directly affected by the recent Victorian floods can access immediate support and advice and may be eligible for a $5000 grant. More information and to apply at Business Victoria's website.

► The Community Sport Emergency Flood Assistance Program is now open. $5000 grants are available for flood affected clubs and active recreational organisations, supporting costs towards replacing sport/first aid equipment, clubroom items, and more. More information/apply here.