Public drinking fountains

We tested a random sample of our public drinking fountains in March and found levels of lead, above the Federal Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, in some fountains.

In April, we started the process of testing more than 140 public drinking fountains across the municipality, with all test results now finalised.

Community health

Our community’s health and safety is our number one priority.

We have been working closely with public health experts at Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on this matter. 

People don't need to worry if they’ve recently used a public drinking fountain in Greater Geelong.

The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines value for lead in drinking water is very conservative of health, so that it protects the most vulnerable people, such as very young children and pregnant women.

While the levels of lead detected are above the health guideline value in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, they are not of immediate concern as drinking water fountains are not the main source of drinking water.

Your safety is our priority 

As a precaution, we’ve turned off all public drinking fountains found with levels of lead and other metals higher than the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

DHHS supports this precautionary approach while the City works with the department, and other agencies, to investigate the source of the lead and ensure the water produced by public drinking fountains meets Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

There are currently 93 public drinking fountains across the municipality that have been turned off following testing.

Ongoing investigations

Current evidence indicates that the levels of lead in water from our public drinking fountains is potentially related to plumbing fittings in low-use drinking fountains. This may be caused by sitting water being in contact with plumbing fittings.

The appearance of lead in drinking water associated with plumbing fittings is an emerging problem worldwide. Australian experts and water regulators are trying to better understand this issue and how we might address it.

We're conducting a thorough investigation into this situation, and are working with health and industry experts, including DHHS, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Barwon Water and the Victorian Building Authority to identify the cause of the lead found in our public drinking fountain water.

In the meantime, all the affected public drinking fountains will remain switched off.

Need to know more...

For information about the health impacts of lead, refer to Better Health Channel

For information about Greater Geelong’s water quality, contact Barwon Water on 1300 656 007.

If you have concerns about your health, or the health of your family, we encourage you to visit your doctor to discuss this further.

Page last updated: Thursday, 21 June 2018