Burdekin Shire Council responds to PFAS detection

Burdekin Shire Council is working closely with the Queensland Government and the water supply regulator to determine a cause of PFAS detected in two bores that were connected to the Ayr town water supply. Both bores were isolated immediately and remain switched off.

Council can assure residents that there is no health risk from consuming the town water supply, which has since been tested and is compliant with national water standards.

However one decommissioned bore in the Nelson’s Lagoon Borefield is still showing elevated PFAS results and requires further investigation.

The bore is one of six bores, in one of three bore fields, that supply water to Ayr.

Burdekin Shire Council Director of Infrastructure, Planning and Environmental Services Nick Wellwood said the six bores were initially sampled by Queensland Health on 29 March, 2018 as part of a wider water quality monitoring program. All results were compliant with national water quality standards.

“However, a second round of quality assurance test results received on Friday 25 May returned elevated levels in two out of six bores,” Mr Wellwood said.

“Both bores were removed from service immediately by Council until further testing could be conducted.

“Test results received yesterday show that only one bore is still affected, however Council has elected to keep the two bores offline until further investigations can be conducted.

“Burdekin Shire Council is working closely with the Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Health and other State Government departments to determine the source of the potential contamination.”

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin assured residents that the town water supply was safe to drink.

“I want to reassure our community members that the town water continues to be safe to drink and test results received by Council yesterday confirmed this,” Cr McLaughlin said.

“There is no disruption to the town water supply as a result of the two affected bores remaining switched off and Council will continue to update residents as more information comes to hand.”

Per-and Poly-fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been widely used since the 1950s in household and industrial products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water.

National health-based guideline values have been established for PFAS in drinking water. These guideline values are very low, and are based on an assumption of lifetime consumption at the maximum tolerable daily intake.

An independent expert health panel established by the Australian Government concluded there is mostly limited, or in some cases no evidence, that human exposure to PFAS is linked with human disease.

For further details about perfluorinated chemicals please visit: www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/management/investigation-pfas/about.

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