NOT FIT TO DRINK: Each time Allanah Loch turns on her tap she has to let the water run, wasting litres every day, to clear the dirty particles.
NOT FIT TO DRINK: Each time Allanah Loch turns on her tap she has to let the water run, wasting litres every day, to clear the dirty particles. Emma Boughen

We want answers

DIRTY water has poured from Allanah and Charles Loch's taps for more than a decade.

Not long after the couple moved to their Bauhinia Street home in December 2004, they noticed dark, rubbery flakes contaminating the water coming from every faucet in the house.

"We contacted the council for the first time about the issue in early 2005," Allanah said.

"We've lived in five other homes in Emerald since 1996 and never had this issue."

In about 2008 the Lochs requested a meeting with the mayor and CEO in what they were hoping would be the final solution.

Since then the council has tried flushing the pipes several times, installed a filter on the couple's water metre and a small pipe on the other side of the road, but the Lochs say both initiatives have had little to no effect.

"It's worse when you go away for a week or so, when you come back it's like someone has thrown a handful of coal into the sink," Charles said.

The Lochs said the problem had worsened over the past 12 months .

"In September Charles took a sample down to the council after we came back from holidays, and then again in November when we requested another meeting," Allanah said. "It's the lack of follow through that I'm annoyed with, I'm constantly making phone calls and chasing them."

Allanah voiced her concerns at the meet the candidate evening at the Maraboon Tavern in Emerald on Friday night, where many residents aired their issues to current and potential councillors and mayors.

"I want a result, I want to turn on my tap and not worry about what comes out," she said. "For a while we bought in water but at the end of the day I thought I'm paying for a service that I'm not getting."

Emerald plumber Dean Rostirolla said he had seen "many" houses in the region with the same problem.

"I've never seen anything like it in other areas, and I've been a plumber for 20 years, and only six of those in Emerald," he said.

"It seems to randomly be in all kinds of streets all over town, it will be in one house but not next door."

Mr Rostirolla said the substance felt tacky, almost like rubber.

A Central Highlands Regional Council spokeswoman said water utilities manager Peter Manning had spoken with Allanah on Friday to arrange a meeting.

"There are a number of properties in town that, due to complaints over time, have had filters installed at the meter point," she said.

"Council sent a water sample that Mrs Loch provided in December to the Queensland Health laboratory, where polyester fibres and charcoal were identified. The source of this material has not been identified yet, but investigations are ongoing. It is suspected that it comes from the water filter material. We certainly do want to work with our residents to find the source of the particles in the water and resolve the issue."


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