8/8/17: Groundwater ban, Edwardstown (South Australia). Trichloroethylene

Highly unlikely to have been detected in Edwardstown drinking water

Groundwater-use ban possible for several Adelaide suburbs, EPA says

Aug 8 2017


Thousands of residents in Adelaide’s south-west could be banned indefinitely from using groundwater due to contamination from a dangerous industrial chemical.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is found in industrial solvents and exposure to the chemical can cause some types of cancer.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) said TCE had been detected in groundwater accessible from properties in Edwardstown, South Plympton, Plympton Park, Park Holme, Ascot Park and Melrose Park.

EPA director of regulation Peter Dolan said the contamination was “well known” but the authority was now looking into whether a blanket ban was needed.

“There’s about seven source sites [and] a number of contamination plumes in the groundwater and they’ve been assessed over quite a long period of time,” he said.

“We’ve decided we need to group them all together and consider banning groundwater taken in the whole area.

“What we’re considering is banning the use of groundwater taken from bores which are shallower than 30 metres deep [and] that’s because that’s where the contamination happens to be.

“The affected area is bordered by Daws Road to the south, South Road to the east, just past Marion Road to the west and Maxwell Avenue to the north.”

Mr Dolan said residents had been warned for several years that the bore water was not safe for use.

“[TCE] is known to cause … rarer forms of liver and kidney cancers and also non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” he said.

“We know that most people in the area don’t use groundwater — it would be as low as maybe 3 per cent of households that have access to a bore.

“The challenge is, we don’t know where they all are.”

Information sessions will be held for affected residents next month, with a final decision on a ban expected to be made by the end of the year.