Katherine’s PFAS timeline: Update

HOW IT LOOKS: A previous Defence Department update at Knotts Crossing.
HOW IT LOOKS: A previous Defence Department update at Knotts Crossing.

Katherine 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.

2012 - Defence department "desktop analysis" finds PFAS contamination an issue at military bases around Australia, Tindal likely named.

November, 2016 – Defence report finds foams have leached off Tindal 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. 

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 reveals one Katherine resident has made a claim for compensation from the department.

October, 2017 - Senate inquiry told it was likely Defence knew Tindal has PFAS contamination issues from a "desktop analysis" in 2012.

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

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

November, 2017 - Late rains produce turbid river but new plant successfully treatment one megalitre of contaminated bore water per day. PFAS results "undetectable".

December, 2017 - NT Govt backflips on advice that Katherine could have a new water treatment plant by May 2018 –  "more like years away" it now says.

December, 2017 - Federal Government announces blood testing, counselling and more investigations into Katherine contamination, same schedule as Oakey and Williamtown.

December, 2017 - Defence holds information update in Katherine.

March, 2018 – Free blood testing set to begin.

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