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PFAS and drinking water supplies in north-east Victoria

17 September 2018

Over the past 12 months North East Water has participated in a multi-agency project investigating per and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) at Defence bases around Australia including Bandiana.

This investigation was led by the Commonwealth Department of Defence to identify the extent of PFAS in the environment due to historic use of firefighting foam.

As part of the investigation, North East Water performed a risk-based testing program for PFAS in several areas in addition to its routine monitoring of urban water supplies.

Managing Director, Craig Heiner said the Corporation regularly tested Wodonga’s source and treated water supplies and shared results with the Department of Defence and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Based on the work at Wodonga, we also decided to test source and treated water supplies at Wangaratta, Yarrawonga and Wahgunyah due to the possible risk of PFAS being present”, Mr Heiner said.

“The sampling program showed no levels of concern, with results well below the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. 

“Based on the results and in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services, North East Water can confirm that the drinking water supplied is safe to drink.”

Mr Heiner added “We appreciate the natural level of concern our customers will have in response to the recent announcements by the Department of Defence”.

“We will continue to test for PFAS in the source and treated water supplies of Wodonga, Wangaratta, Yarrawonga and Wahgunyah and these results will be made publicly available.

“If PFAS levels ever trended near or over the drinking water guidelines, we would invest in treatment options to remove these substances.”

For more information about PFAS and the drinking water supplies in north-east Victoria, visit www.newater.com.au/pfas.

For the latest information regarding the Department of Defence environmental investigations at Bandiana, visit www.defence.gov.au/environment/pfas/Bandiana/.

View the PFAS FAQ page