Katherine's public pool set to open again

OPENING PLANS: PFAS chemical contamination has been removed from Katherine's public pool to bring it back under recommended levels.
OPENING PLANS: PFAS chemical contamination has been removed from Katherine's public pool to bring it back under recommended levels.

Katherine’s town swimming pool will be re-opened on Thursday.

Katherine Town Council today announced the latest water testing for PFAS, while still above drinking water standards, is well below recommended recreational levels.

The council plans to re-open the pool at 6am on Thursday after it was closed early last month because of a high PFAS result.

“Water testing confirms KTC Aquatic Centre is below recreational guidelines and preparations are being made to reopen the pool to the community at 6am on Thursday,” the council spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman said council had worked with the Department of Defence and their lead consultant, Coffey, to identify a management plan for the pool.

This plan included draining about three-quarters of the water in the pool and refilling it with approximately 900,000 litres of town drinking water.

The town’s drinking water, according to the latest Power and Water Corporation tests, has returned PFAS results of 0.01 micrograms per litre.

The September 28 test of the pool produced the 0.84 result, which drew media attention from around Australia.

Australia’s newly adopted recommended drinking water level for PFAS is 0.07 while recreational limits are 0.7.

The pool returned another result of 0.7 on October 11, all due to a contaminated bore at the sports grounds which supplies the water.

The public were encouraged to use the swimming pool at the Tindal RAAF Base which had also produced a surprise PFAS result of 0.45, despite being filled with town water.

The pool will now be topped up from the town’s filtered supply.

Council today said the latest test, from last week, came back from the lab with a reading of 0.27, well above drinking water standards but well below recreational limits.

The spokeswoman said the council has drained and cleaned the balance tank and paddling pool, “and completely replacing the media in the filtration system”.

”Katherine Town Council is introducing measures to ensure that users of the pool facilities are not exposed to levels of PFAS exceeding recreational standards,” the spokeswoman said.

“The pool will no longer be filled using untreated bore water. Instead approximately 3000 litres per day of town water will be sourced to maintain water levels in the pool.

“This accounts for less than 0.1% of Katherine’s average daily water use and is not expected to affect other users.

“Pool water sampling will occur fortnightly to build baseline data and ensure that the water quality remains within recreational limits.”

More reading: