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Covering The Banana Shire
Central West Queensland

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23 February, 2021

SECOND UPDATE: IT’S DAM CLEAN! Town’s drinking water given the all clear

Citizens of Biloela can rest easy knowing that their drinking water is safe according to recent testing for PFAS substances.

By Michael R Williams

Some private bores were found to have PFAS levels over what is recommended for drinking

Worries about PFAS substances in the Biloela’s drinking water can be put to rest as recent tests have come up all clear. 

On Tuesday, February 9, PFAS was found in private bores around Callide Creek after CS Energy conducted voluntary testing. 

Some were found to be nearly two times the recommended drinking limit.

Further testing was undertaken under the guise of environmental consulting firm CQG.
In the following weeks, the Banana Shire Council developed an environmental and public health monitoring program they described as “detailed”.

The results from which prompted the council to say the water was “safe to drink”, as they indicated PFAS substance levels to be “well below the recommended drinking levels”. 

Council said the monitoring program included “an investigation into the area’s groundwater network with the objective of identifying any potential impacts to water quality from PFAS and other potential contaminants.”.

Mayor Nev Ferrier said “It will be a relief to the whole Biloela community that the higher-than-expected levels of PFAS in some parts of the water table have not adversely impacted on the town drinking water. It is reassuring to see that our existing water quality procedures are working effectively.”.

The results found are consistent with previous PFAS monitoring conducted by the Council in the past two years. 

Banana Shire Council Member Melissa Corfield states that the Council has engaged with both Queensland Health and CQG in the preliminary monitoring of PFAS. She says, "the water is extremely safe to drink."

The FDA advises PFAS levels to be under 0.1 and PFOA be under 0.7 which they are.

UPDATED:

Manager for Environment and Planning Keith Halford finally put the story to bed, and with it any worries the community might have, at the Council Meeting Wednesday, February 24. 

“We’ve taken samples from all eight bores involved in the Biloela drinking [and other uses] water. 

“We then took values from Callide Dam, the reservoir and standpipe — where people collect their water from.

“We sent samples off to ALS they came back and the highest result we received was half of what the requirement is for the national Environmental Protection Measure or NEPM. 

"Now that is the worst. 

“When you look at all of the bores in a line, and the way the aquifer moves —  all that water gets recharged from Callide into that aquifer then it’s picked up now that gets mixed up with Callide water, it then gets treated and goes into the reservoir. 

“Now at that point, and we assessed that point as well, it is ten times lower than the drinking standard. 

“So, we set it at 0.7 micrograms per litre we are at 0.0089.

“So, it would take a thousand years for it to bioaccumulate in the human body.

“We also assessed the water under Trap Gully. 

“We do not exceed the landfill standards for PFAS.

“We do not exceed the drinking standards, the recreational standards. 

“It is probably one of the cleaner landfills in the state.  

“[It was a] exceptionally good result. 

“I would stand hand on heart and say, the drinking water in Biloela is exceptionally good.” 

The following table represents the end of pipe result for BIL13 which was 0.0089 μg/L approximately a 10th of the limit set for the drinking water in the NEPM. 
All results were well under the 0.07 micrograms per litre limit for PFOS+PFHxS.


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