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Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says residents should receive an apology over an excessive release of fluoride in drinking water supplies.
For three hours earlier this month some residents at Brendale and Warner, just north of Brisbane, were drinking water with a fluoride concentration 20 times higher than the recommended maximum limit.
The state Opposition says it should not have taken nearly two weeks for the Government to find out about the bungle
The revelation came as the Queensland Government yesterday sent apology letters to the 4000 people in northern Brisbane whose water was dosed with 30 milligrams of fluoride per litre, rather than the 1.5mg/litre maximum, for three hours on May 2.
Mike Foster, a spokesman for Queensland government water authority Seqwater, yesterday admitted that up to three safeguard systems at the North Pine treatment plant had malfunctioned, allowing the fluoride overdose to occur.
The plant had been shut down for maintenance between April 27 and 30, but the dosing machinery continued to pour fluoride into the system.
When the plant came back online, a concentrated amount of fluoride flowed into the system and was not detected until another water company tested water in the pipeline, a process that took two weeks.
The Queensland Health Department's code of practice for water fluoridation warns of the need for back-up systems to prevent accidental overdoses. It specifically warns of the potential to overdose if the water supply is cut off but the fluoride continues to dose, as happened last month.