'We were wrong', water fix way off – Govt

STATE OF CONFUSION: Yet more confusing handling of Katherine's PFAS issue with the NT Government today retreating bickering over timelines for a drinking water fix.
STATE OF CONFUSION: Yet more confusing handling of Katherine's PFAS issue with the NT Government today retreating bickering over timelines for a drinking water fix.

Katherine’s drinking water woes could take almost three years to fix, the NT Government is now saying.

The government is today saying it made a mistake yesterday by claiming the fix could be done by May.

Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson and a member of the government’s Media Unit, made the error, government authorities were quick to claim.

Power and Water has been keen to correct the optimistic statement this morning.

“Power and Water is progressing continuing planning effort to identify long-term options to deliver the best solution for customers in Katherine,” Power and Water executive general manager water services Robert Brito said.

“Options that are currently being considered include advanced water treatment technologies and/or new ground water sources.

“It is expected that once a permanent solution for the Katherine water supply system is identified, it could take between 12 and 30 months to implement.”

Ms Nelson has refused to apologise for giving false hope.

“The remarks from Mr Brito in my previous statement were not a direct quote,” she said through a media spokesman at 11.30am.

“I accept the current advice of Power and Water regarding timelines for a permanent solution for Katherine’s town water.”

Yesterday, Ms Nelson, again through a media spokesman, said Mr Brito had “remarked” Katherine’s water fix could take six months.

Today we have been assured that is not going to happen.

Katherine residents are demanding a quick fix to their drinking water which contains PFAS chemical contamination from the nearby Tindal RAAF Base.

While health experts say the water remains safe to drink, they have also admitted the test results have “spiked” on occasions above recommended health limits.

Residents have told the Katherine Times they want the water crisis fixed before next year’s dry season peak arrives again.

NT Power and Water Corporation is investigating options for long-term solutions for the Katherine town water supply.

These include, but are not limited to:

• finding new bore locations in areas where no PFAS has been detected, and

• upgrading infrastructure so there is no need to rely on bore water and upgrading infrastructure to permanently treat bore water to remove PFAS.

“These solutions are expected to take some time to develop,” the defence department said.

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