• Despite being surrounded by ocean, the Palm Island community has struggled to have clean drinking water. (NITV)Source: NITV
For the second time in six months, the isolated community in north Queensland is unable to drink the tap water.
Ella Archibald-Binge

6 May 2019 - 2:45 PM  UPDATED 6 May 2019 - 2:45 PM

Palm Island Mayor, Alf Lacey, has called on the state government to find a long-term solution to fix the water quality in the north Queensland community of Bwgcolman (Palm Island)

The Bwgcolman council issued an emergency notice on Saturday, urging residents not to drink or cook with the discoloured tap water. 

It's the second time the community has been forced to rely on bottled water in six months. When similar issues were reported in November, the state government said it should take six weeks to fix. 

A $1.4 million water treatment plant was installed on Bwgcolman in 2017 in a bid to alleviate its water quality issues. 

But Mr Lacey said the problem likely stems from ageing infrastructure, such as the reservoir tank and water pipes, which were installed more than 50 years ago. 

He's called on Local Government Minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, to find a long-term solution. 

"I think we need to seriously get a proper assessment in terms of the ageing assets in our community," Mr Lacey told NITV News.

"Rather than later, I’d prefer to see some action done a lot sooner and call on the minister to put some action in place to deal with it, otherwise we’ll have constant problems."

A spokesman for Mr Hinchliffe said engineers from the Department of Local Government would visit the island on Wednesday to discuss how state infrastructure funding could help the council manage the issue.

"The Department is aware of the current situation with the Water Treatment Plant and has been in regular contact with the Council’s engineer and has provided assistance where required," he said in a written statement.

Home to around 3000 people, Bwgcolman is two hours from Townsville by ferry. 

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