PFAS in Katherine – a grim timeline

1988 – PFAS laden fire fighting foams used in training at Tindal RAAF Base.

2004 – Tindal phases out use of the foam because of concerns about its safety to the environment and to health.

November, 2016 – Defence report finds foams have leached off the base and into the water aquifer.

November, 2016 – Preliminary NT Government report reveals PFAS contamination in town drinking water.

November, 2016 – Public meetings in Katherine organised by Defence to update residents.

December, 2016 – More than 40 properties around Tindal being supplied with drinking water by Defence.

February, 2017 – Defence launched year-long study into extent of contamination in Katherine region from Tindal air base.

April, 2017 – NT Government increases testing of Katherine drinking water. Testing consistently shows two production bores used to supply water treatment plant are well above health limits.

April, 2017 – The Federal Government dramatically reduces the health limits for PFAS chemicals in line with US standards from 0.5 micrograms per litre, to 0.07.

April, 2017 – Public meetings in Katherine for Defence to update residents.

May, 2017 – Katherine told no blood testing would be offered until the chemical contamination study is complete.

June, 2017 – Public meetings in Katherine for Defence to update residents. 

WHAT OFFICIALS FEAR MOST: A highly turbid Katherine River after the first rains of the wet season are also full of bacteria and not able to be used at Katherine's water treatment plant.

WHAT OFFICIALS FEAR MOST: A highly turbid Katherine River after the first rains of the wet season are also full of bacteria and not able to be used at Katherine's water treatment plant.

July 2017 – Four tests show PFAS levels have “spiked” above health limits for safe drinking water.

August, 2017 – Defence commission delivery of a pilot water treatment plant from the US costing $4 million to remove PFAS from one megalitre of Katherine’s bore water.

August, 2017 – Water restrictions begin in Katherine to reduce water use from PFAS fears.

September, 2017 – New defence water treatment plant jets into Darwin airport.

October, 2017 – Katherine’s public swimming pool returns a PFAS result above health limits.

October, 2017 – Defence holds one-on-one sessions to update residents.

October, 2017 – Defence, media and public officials tour new treatment plant.

November 2017 – NT Government promises to review Katherine water restrictions.