Defence’s letter on water treatment

The first Defence Department study for Tindal shows PFAS leaching off the base.
The first Defence Department study for Tindal shows PFAS leaching off the base.

The complete letter received by Katherine Times this week from the Department of Defence.

Chris Birrer, First Assistant Secretary Infrastructure, Department of Defence

I write to provide further information to your readers regarding the actions being undertaken by the Department of Defence (Defence) PFAS Investigation and Management Program at RAAF Base Tindal.

Defence recognises the Katherine community’s concerns in relation to the Katherine town water supply and has been working with Power and Water Corporation and the NT Government to respond to this issue.

On 9 August 2017 Senator the Hon Marise Payne and the Hon Michael Gunner MLA announced that the Department of Defence will provide an interim ECT 2 water treatment plant to reduce the amount of PFAS in the Katherine Town Water Supply. The announcement advised that the water treatment plant would be operational in the final quarter of 2017.

Defence is working to deliver the plant as soon as possible and is on track to achieve delivery in the final quarter of 2017, as forecasted. The plant is expected to arrive in Australia this month and to begin treating water as part of the commissioning phase in October 2017.

To clarify for your readers, the interim ECT2 water treatment plant is expected to treat PFAS affected bore water prior to blending it with river water to generate the town water supply. The interim ECT2 water treatment plant will filter PFAS from the bore water before it enters the purification and blending process in the Power and Water Corporation’s water treatment plant.

The interim ECT2 water treatment plant will be capable of processing the majority of the bore water currently required for town water supply. This will significantly reduce the levels of PFAS in the town water supply.

Importantly the average PFAS levels in the town water supply remains below the Department of Health guidance values. State and Federal health authorities have confirmed that the Katherine town water remains safe to drink.

Defence will continue to work with the Katherine community and the NT Government as it investigates and implements strategies to reduce PFAS exposure.

I welcome members of the Katherine community to contact Defence should they have any questions about the RAAF Base Tindal PFAS Investigation on 1800 316 813 or PFAS.RAAFBaseTindal@coffey.com.