Winnaleah has become the seventh Tasmanian town to have Lead found in Tas Water’s reticulated drinking water supply. Winnaleah now follows on from Rosebery, Pioneer, Ringarooma, Whitemark, Avoca and Royal George.

Last Friday afternoon at a meeting in Winnaleah local residents were informed by Tas Water that their reticulated drinking water supply was contaminated with Lead. Lead levels found on 6th March were nearly 4 times the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines at 39.8ug/L. The Australian Drinking Water Guideline for Lead is 10ug/L (Pb 10 parts per billion).

Tas Water have now switched the source of the water supply for Winnaleah from Warrentinna Springs to the Winnaleah Irrigation water supply system. The water in this irrigation supply comes from the Frome and Cascade Dams and neither of these supplies has been tested for ecoli or metals and can only be used if boiled first.

Astonishingly Tas Water stated at the Winnaleah meeting that it is not their responsibility to find the source of the lead in the water.

As with every other case where Tas Water have identified Lead contamination of the drinking water supply they have again failed to inform residents of the source of the Lead contamination and now appear to be buck-passing this responsibility.

The EPA claim they have no responsibility for water, only for sewage, and the Groundwater unit in DPIPWE was disbanded four years ago. Who is going to take responsibility for this?

Newly-appointed Minister for Health Michael Ferguson and Minister for Water Jeremy Rockcliff must put a stop to the continued secrecy by Tas Water over the source of the Lead in several Tasmanian towns drinking water supplies.

Tasmania has over 75 waterways contaminated with toxic metals.

Just how many more towns in Tasmania did local Councils fail to properly monitor for metal contamination of reticulated drinking water supplies prior to Tas Water taking over. The community has a right to know if their water is free from toxic metals especially in regional areas of Tasmania with ageing infrastructure and pumps or those areas impacted by current or mine legacy sites.

In previous cases the Department of Health have failed to advise residents who have been consuming Lead contaminated water to have blood lead testing or offered a free blood lead testing service for residents who unknowingly have ingested or inhaled toxic water.

Many people who have now discovered that their water is poisoned are dismayed at the complete lack of compassion displayed by Tas Water and the DHHS in their public dealings over this very serious public health issue.

Ministers Ferguson and Rockcliff must take decisive action to protect public health and ensure provision of a safe reticulated drinking water supply to all residents where Lead contamination of water has been found in Tasmania.

For more information see TPEHN website:
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Contaminated_Waterways,_Areas_and_Sites_in_Tasmania_-_A_to_Z

Earlier on Tasmanian Times:Tim Slade, Toxic Tas Water

Mercury: Scare as lead found in North-East water source