Muswellbrook’s first town water supply was commissioned in 1913. Water was drawn from a well behind the treatment works by means of a pump operated by a gas engine.


Muswellbrook Shire Council supplies approximately 4,936 water connections within the Shire (Muswellbrook, Denman & Sandy Hollow) with the bulk of this water from the water treatment plant in Scott Street, Muswellbrook. The water is pumped out of the Hunter River at a rate of 230 litres per second. Once it is pumped out of the river it is pumped into the clarifier, where lime and ferric sulphate are added to the water to reduce the hardness. The hardness is reduced so that when people are using town water to shower with they can get a lather from their shampoo and soap.

Duboulays Rainbow Fish
Photo: Duboulays Rainbow Fish – ‘melanotaenia duboulayi’

A species of fish (Duboulays Rainbow Fish – ‘melanotaenia duboulayi’) are used at the waterworks as a biological indicator. Raw water from the river is used to filter through the fish tanks. If the water from the river is of low quality and not suitable for the fish to live in, they will die, which alerts the staff at the waterworks that there is a problem with the raw water and it should not be used within the waterworks.

The water treatment plant is semi-automatic and will shutdown if the turbidity (muddiness) of the raw water rises above certain limits.

The clarified water then goes to the recarbonation chamber where carbon dioxide is added to the water to correct the pH of the water and stabilise it at about 8.0.

After stabilisation in the recarbonation chamber the water passes through rapid sand filters. There are 3 of these filters at the water works.

One of the tertiary treatment maturation ponds, Muswellbrook Sewage Treatment Plant
Photo: View from the catwalk above the clarifier, Muswellbrook Water Treatment Plant.

Chlorine (in the form of Sodium Hypochlorite) is added to the water in the clear well, which contains enough clear water to ensure a chlorine contact period of not less than 30 minutes, to fully disinfect the water.

Finally, fluoride is injected into the rising main near the main high lift pumps.

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