Katherine pool closed after PFAS chemicals breach safety limits

UNSAFE TO SWIM: The levels of PFAS in the Katherine swimming pool is more than 15 times safe drinking levels.
UNSAFE TO SWIM: The levels of PFAS in the Katherine swimming pool is more than 15 times safe drinking levels.

Katherine’s public swimming pool has breached safe levels of chemical contaminants in the water.

Katherine Town Council has closed the pool until further notice.

The safe level of PFAS for recreational water use is 0.7 micrograms per litre.

The public swimming pool has recorded readings of 0.84.

The level of PFAS in the Katherine swimming pool is more than 15 times safe drinking levels.

“While trend analysis is usually required, Katherine Town Council recognises the community sensitivities around the issue of PFAS and has taken the proactive step to temporarily close the swimming pool to immediately address this situation,” Katherine Town Council CEO Robert Jennings said.

“The most recent test taken on September 28 2017 at the Katherine YMCA Pool has returned a result of 0.84 micrograms/litre of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which is above the national recreational water quality guideline of 0.7 micrograms /L.

“The first result from samples taken on September 7 2017 was 0.6 micrograms/litre, the second test taken was on September 11 2017 and it was 0.54 micrograms/litre both of which were below the national recreational water quality guideline,” Mr Jennings said.

Mr Jennings said as an interim solution, this will include securing other sources of water to replenish the pool and further testing to be undertaken.

“Council will rely on the Australian Department of Defence to assist in identifying an appropriate management plan to address the issue and ensure that the pool water quality is within national guidelines,” Mr Jennings said.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)  were contained in the fire fighting foams used at the Tindal RAAF Base from 1988 to 2004 and have since leached into the water supply.