25 November 2016

As the entity responsible for managing public water supply across the Territory, Power and Water was asked by the Department of Health to take samples of drinking water in various locations to test them for levels of PFAS.

The results of that testing – which has been conducted by laboratories interstate – has found that samples of drinking water provided are well below the 0.5 µg/L (microgram-per-litre) interim guidelines.

John Pudney, General Manager of Water Services at Power and Water said that PFAS detected in water quality testing undertaken by Power and Water were at very low levels.

“To put it into context, a microgram is one part per billion,” John said.

“In simple terms, a microgram is the equivalent to a quarter of a teaspoon in an Olympic-sized swimming pool – so we’re talking very low levels.”

Based on results that have been submitted to Department of Health – Dr Hugh Heggie, Chief Health Officer has advised that public drinking water is safe for consumption in Alice Springs, Katherine, Batchelor, Adelaide River and Darwin regions.

Results of PFAS testing October 2016:

LocationSource tested and locationMaximum PFAS1levels µg/L 
(i.e. micrograms per litre)
Reference valueThis interim national guidance was developed by the Environmental Health Standing Committee (En Health)0.5 µg/L
Adelaide RiverSurface water and bore (Power and Water Treatment Plant)0.023 µg/L
Alice SpringsBore (Roe Creek)Not detected
BatchelorFrom a single Bore (tap water is a blend)0.0664 µg/L
DarwinDarwin River Dam and bore (Howard East)0.00017 µg/L
KatherineBore blended with surface water (calculated value)0.079 µg/L
Katherine (November 2016)Reticulation (tap) water from the water supply network 18 November 20160.052 µg/L


Department of Health has advised Katherine residents using private bores in the vicinity of RAAF base Tindal to contact Defence on 1800 365 414 (business hours) to discuss their water supply. Fact sheet and information are available in this Department of Health media release.

For more information, go to the NT Environment Protection Authority (EPA) website or call the NT EPA Pollution Hotline on 1800 064 567.

A PFAS factsheet is also available from the NT EPA.

“Power and Water never take chances with our water quality and this issue is no different,” John said.

Contact: For media enquiries, please contact the media unit.

Phone: 0401 117 599