Questions over Oakey town water plan: 'Will it cost?'

UPDATE: The man behind the Oakey class action lawsuit against the Department of Defence has given a mixed response to the news contaminated properties could be hooked up to the town's main water.

Shine Lawyers principal Peter Shannon welcomed the possible development, which was confirmed by Toowoomba's Councillor Nancy Sommerfield earlier today, but raised plenty of questions about its implementation.

He queried whether people would have to pay for a service they had previously received for free with bore water.

"You don't pay for bore water, so if this is put in place, will they have to pay for town water?" he said.

"We've got horse trainers who need significant quantities of water, which mean they will consume significant volumes.

"The devil is in the details, and the issue is that people would need to pay.

"(Compensation) has to be made good in the same manner, which this is not unless it's free."

Shine Lawyers partner Peter Shannon pores over maps of Oakey in his Russell St office. Photo Andrew Backhouse / The Chronicle
Shine Lawyers' Peter Shannon. Andrew Backhouse

Cr Sommerfield told The Chronicle earlier today the council had been approached with the proposal by the department.

Oakey resident Dr Eric Donaldson, who has previously led protests against Defence, said getting town water hooked would have some benefits.

"If they were going to put on town water for some people, I think that would be a good idea," he said.

"I think that for some people within reach of the supply, it would be appropriate."

Kristy Banks, whose underground bore was not contaminated despite sitting in the affected area, said access to clean water would help people trying to sell their properties.

However, she also raised concerns about costs to the landholder for using town water.

"I have stables at the property and having to pay for water would be quite expensive," she said.

"It could possibly be beneficial."

EARLIER: The Department of Defence and the Toowoomba Regional Council have been in discussions to extend water pipes to Oakey's contaminated properties.

Councillor Nancy Sommerfield, who holds the water and waste portfolio, confirmed Defence approached the council several months ago to explore extending Oakey's town water pipes out to the affected properties.

Cr Sommerfield said the council had enough safe town water available if the proposal went ahead.

"We've been engaged with them about providing water to outlying areas (of Oakey)," she said.

"It's just simply an expansion of the pipes that are in the town area. The town water is safe, it's just the outskirts that don't have access to it.

"Certainly from a water perspective, we've been able to supply out to other areas before. There is enough water."

Cr Sommerfield could not confirm if the department was willing to pay for a potential expansion.

The Defence Department has been contacted for comment.