Checking for PFAS at the town pool

ALL CLEAR: The famous hot springs have been given the all clear for recreational use although actual chemical contamination levels have not been released. Picture: supplied.

ALL CLEAR: The famous hot springs have been given the all clear for recreational use although actual chemical contamination levels have not been released. Picture: supplied.

Katherine’s famous hot springs have been given the all clear for chemical contamination now checks are being done on the pool.

Several Katherine Town Council facilities are being tested for PFAS contamination by Defence Department contractors Coffey Consultants.

The town’s tip on Novis Quarry Road has been found to be above the recommended national maximum limits.

Drinking water has a 0.07 micrograms per litre daily limit while recreational water, like the pool and hot springs, have a 0.7 limit.

PFAS was contained in firefighting foams used in training at the Tindal RAAF Base between 1988 and 2004.

The chemicals have since leached into bores and the town’s drinking water supply.

“A regime of testing is now underway on council facilities that may have levels of PFAS that could impact on human health, with the intent of releasing the results to our community as we are able to confirm them,” council chief executive officer Rob Jennings said.

“The results of the recent test at the Katherine Hot Springs has confirmed water quality levels within the recommended safe thresholds for recreational water use for PFAS.

“A test is currently being performed on the water at the Katherine YMCA swimming pool and this information will be released as soon as it is available, the council said in a statement today.

“Although not a recreational facility, the Katherine Waste Facility on Novis Quarry Road has also been tested and has identified PFAS levels above the recommended thresholds. Further monitoring has been set up to determine the cause and nature of these raised levels.

“All testing to date has been performed by Coffey (Department of Defence consultants) as part of the overall investigation of PFAS use at RAAF Tindal Base in the Katherine Township.”

Test results released this afternoon show three test results at the Hot Springs returned levels of 0.04, 0.05 and 0.04 with the recreational threshold set nationally at 0.7.

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