Operating Tomago Sandbeds

Like other areas across NSW, our water supply is feeling the impact of the drought. Our dams fill quickly when it rains, but they also empty quickly during extended dry spells due to high evaporation rates.

This is why Hunter Water is looking to maximise the amount of water available by operating the Tomago Sandbeds. The Sandbeds are a safe and reliable back up water supply during times of shortfall, and can provide 20 percent of the region’s drinking water. The decision to use the Sandbeds has been made in consultation with NSW Health.

Hunter Water has an extensive ‘catchment to tap’ water quality monitoring program in place to ensure the safety of our drinking water. We test for PFAS, including PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS, at all six of our drinking water treatment plants, at Campvale Canal and at 74 locations across the entire drinking water network. To date, there have been no detections of the chemicals in our water supply above the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Our water quality testing results are available online.

One of the reasons we don’t operate the Sandbeds continuously is due to the high cost of treating the water. Customers may notice some changes in the appearance of their water when the Sandbeds are operational due to naturally occurring Iron and Manganese present in the water. This is not a health concern, but it can discolour the water.

Read our Operating Tomago Sandbeds Fact Sheet including frequently asked questions.