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  • Lynn Gabriel

Water treatment chemical shortage looms in eastern states after floods cut WA rail link

NSW utilities warned to monitor stocks of alum and to prepare their contingency plans

Authorities have warned regional water utilities that the severing of the rail link between Western Australia and eastern states posed an “escalating risk” of shortages of a critical chemical used in water treatment.

The New South Wales water directorate on Wednesday said a major supplier of aluminium sulphate – or alum – had warned eastern customers that disruptions of the east-west railway due to flooding had halted deliveries of a key ingredient, aluminium trihydrate.

“At the same time as this potential supply shortage, recent widespread heavy rainfall across regional NSW is likely to create water quality challenges,” the directorate said. “Water utilities must carefully operate and monitor their critical control points, especially when raw water conditions change.”

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