2018 – Macknade (Queensland) – PFAS

PFAS found in town water supply, fifth site in North Queensland

https://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/townsville/pfas-found-in-town-water-supply-fifth-site-in-north-queensland/news-story/fa11b7996e39216251e3ad2e1492a699

THE CHEMICAL contaminant PFAS has been found for the fifth time in North Queensland.

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances were found in a bore connected to the Lower Herbert water supply in the Hinchinbrook region, the council announced today.

A spokesman for Hinchinbrook Shire Council said the contaminated bore was isolated immediately and would remain switched off until further notice.

Mayor Ramon Jayo assured residents the water was still safe to drink.

“There is no disruption to the town water supply as a result of the affected bore remaining switched off and council will continue to update residents as more information comes to hand,” he said.

In a statement the council said the bore was one of four in the Macknade Township.

This supplies water to the Macknade Water Treatment Plant which distributes water to the Lower Herbert region.

Lucinda, Macknade, Halifax, Cordelia, Taylors Beach and Bemerside all receive water from the Macknade Water Treatment Plant and the Ingham Water Treatment Plants.

Cr Jayo said the council undertook PFAS testing of water reservoirs across the Hinchinbrook water supply network as part of a statewide water quality monitoring program.

“The Ingham, Forrest Beach and Halifax Reservoirs returned clear readings compliant with the national water standards and found no detection of PFAS,” he said.

“However the Lucinda Water Reservoir returned a small amount above the detection limits specified by Queensland Health.

“Further testing was conducted to identify the source of the potential contamination and these results were received late (Monday) afternoon.”

Cr Jayo said the bore where PFAS was found was immediately removed from service and the council was undertaking further testing with Queensland Health and other government agencies.

PFAS has been found at numerous sites throughout the wider Townsville and North Queensland regions.

It was detected in a bore connected to the Ayr water supply and at the Port of Townsville this year.

The Department of Defence is also investigating PFAS contamination at Laverack Barracks and the RAAF base.

Health risks

An independent expert health panel established by the Australian Government found there was “no current evidence that suggested an increase in overall cancer risk”.

The finding was based on limited evidence and it’s recommended people minimise exposure to PFAS chemicals because of their known ability to persist and accumulate in the body.

International research group C8 Science Panel found the chemicals were linked to diagnosed high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.