6/10/17: Thebarton (South Australia) houses contaminated. Trichloroethylene

Note: Unlikely to have been detected in drinking water in these houses

Trichloroethene contamination found within five homes in Thebarton

GROUNDWATER contamination has leached into five households in Thebarton with the EPA now offering ventilation and extraction systems to affected residents.


October 6 2017

CONTAMINATED groundwater has leached into several houses in an Adelaide inner suburb, posing a long term health risk to residents.

The Environmental Protection Agency has warned residents in the contamination zone not to use their bore water for any purpose.

The EPA identified 17 impacted properties after high concentrations of trichloroethene, or TCE, was located in the groundwater around Thebarton.

Of the 17 households, the EPA received permission to test eight properties.

Tests for three of the properties did not return positive results for TCE.

However five of the properties had TCE present during indoor vapour testing.

All five properties had between 20 and 200 microgrammes of TCE present during air testing, which the EPA considers a possible health risk and earmarks the property for intervention.

A baseline average for TCE in houses is around two micrograms.

Testing showed most of the properties had between 20 and 30 micrograms present, however one property recorded a result of 70 micrograms, more than 35 times the average reading.

EPA regulation director Peter Dolan said affected households would be offered custom made ventilation and extraction systems which would remove nearly all TCE vapour.

The system uses pipes beneath affected properties which uses a low wattage fan to extract vapour and release it above the roof line of the house.

The system takes a week to install and is optional for residents.

TCE is a commonly used degreasing agent and is typically found in soil and groundwater of former industrial sites especially where metal working was conducted.

While exposure to low level TCE does no result in an immediate reaction, decades of exposure has been linked to cancer of the liver and kidneys and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.