Questions over town's resources after E.coli outbreak

A TRANGIE man has questioned the protocol of his fellow councillors after the recent E. coli outbreak in the town.

Escherichia coli (more commonly known as E. coli) is a bacteria made of 'rotting animal carcases and human faeces' often found in water and a small amount was found in the Trangie water supply in the space of three weeks.

Narromine Shire councillor Craig Davies, who resides in Trangie, told the Daily Liberal it had been four weeks since the first E. coli outbreak in the town's water system in five years.

"I was first notified on December 4 that there was a trace of E. coli. Days after the first outbreak was cleared, a second was found," Mr Davies said.

"I heard of 30 reported incidents where people were being treated with stomach diarrhoea problems due to E. coli."

He said hospitals and schools were urging people to buy water, with teachers telling students not to use 'bubblers' in case they got sick, which was a real issue.

"E. coli is a third world disease and there were two outbreaks in the space of three weeks in Trangie. The second outbreak could have been prevented if not for a council not being in a position to provide an appropriate solution to the problem.

"Staff are not responsible for their resources but the resources in Trangie aren't good enough. Within Narromine Shire council, 94 people are employed and only four are employed in Trangie. We're obviously prepared to look at the situation but Trangie's lack of resources are limiting the town's ability to thrive and survive."

He said all councillors expressed a desire to treat all ratepayers and they should have acted on those promises by notifying residents of the E. coli outbreak as soon as it came about.

Narromine Shire mayor Bill McAnally said the NSW Office of Water was notified as soon as the E. coli was identified and council followed their guidelines to ensure it was dealt with quickly.

"The contaminated water was sent to Sydney and the Narromine Shire councillors did everything they possibly could to solve this problem," he said.

"I'm very happy with the work done by NSW Water and all water was tested under their guidance and council was just abiding by their standards."

He said isolation of E. coli was 'difficult' and apologised for any inconvenience caused.

He said fliers were sent out to residents alerting them of the outbreak.

"There was a touch of E. coli and we're thankful the whole water system wasn't affected. Investigations are continuing into how it came to be in the water system," he said.

The E. coli was successfully removed from the water system on Friday, December 21.

anthony.cini@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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