PFAS

PFAS are a class of manufactured chemicals that have been used since the 1950s to make products that resist heat, stains, grease and water. PFAS has been identified as an emerging contaminant and investigations are underway in all Australian jurisdictions.

PFAS in Katherine

Compulsory water conservation measures 
Compulsory water
conservation measures
 
Living Water Smart Katherine 
Living Water Smart
Katherine
 

Power and Water carries out an extensive sampling program throughout the year on its drinking water sources, in accordance with Department of Health approvals and the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG).

These results represent the average results from 654 tap water samples, 170 bore water and 141 river water samples and 55 PFAS treated water samples to 31 October 2018.

Power and Water is undertaking regular sampling of drinking water in Katherine. Testing for PFAS is conducted by laboratories interstate. Results of tests are provided to the Department of Health and updated each month. The test results of samples provided are within the Australian guidance values released 3 April 2017.

Based on results that have been submitted to Department of Health, Dr Hugh Heggie Chief Health Officer has advised that public drinking water in Katherine is safe for consumption.

  Average PFAS1 Levels µg/L
(ie micrograms per litre)
LocationDescription ΣPFHxS and PFOSPFOA
Reference valueFSANZ Health Based Guidance Values for drinking water quality20.07 µg/L0.56 µg/L
Katherine Reticulation Reticulation (tap) water   0.006  0.001
Katherine Raw bore water   0.3   0.006
Katherine Raw surface water <0.001 <0.001
Katherine  PFAS treated water - final tank <0.001 <0.001

1 ΣPFHxS and PFOS = sum of PFHxS and PFOS

2 Whole of life exposure health based guidance values for use in site investigations in Australia

* All values reported preceded with < indicate the value is below the level of detection of the analysis method.


PFAS in the Northern Territory

Power and Water carries out an extensive sampling program throughout the year on its drinking water sources, in accordance with Department of Health approvals and the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG).

In response to a request from Department of Health in 2017, PFAS is now included as part of our water quality testing program.

Power and Water is undertaking regular sampling of drinking water. Testing for PFAS is conducted by laboratories interstate. Results of tests are provided to the Department of Health and updated each month. The test results of samples provided are within the Australian guidance values released 3 April 2017.

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.

Current average results of PFAS testing of drinking water to 31 October 2018:

  Average PFAS1 Levels µg/L
(ie micrograms per litre)
LocationDescription ΣPFHxS and PFOSPFOA
Reference valueFSANZ Health Based Guidance Values for drinking water quality20.07 µg/L0.56 µg/L
Alice Springs Reticulation (tap) water <0.001* <0.001*
Darwin Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Tennant Creek Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Yulara Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Adelaide River Reticulation (tap) water   0.01   0.001
Batchelor Reticulation (tap) water   0.01   0.001
Cox Peninsula Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Borroloola Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Garawa Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Daly Waters Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Elliot Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Gunn Point Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Kings Canyon Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Larrimah Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Mataranka Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Newscastle Waters Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001
Pine Creek Reticulation (tap) water   0.009   0.002
Ti Tree Reticulation (tap) water <0.0001 <0.0001
Timber Creek Reticulation (tap) water <0.001 <0.001

1 ΣPFHxS and PFOS = sum of PFHxS and PFOS

2 Whole of life exposure health based guidance values for use in site investigations in Australia

* All values reported preceded with < indicate the value is below the level of detection of the analysis method.

PFAS in remote communities

Preliminary investigations have been conducted at five communities in close proximity to Katherine. Results indicate that all samples of the drinking water are well below the Australian guidance values released on 3 April 2017. Additional monitoring will be undertaken in liaison with Department of Health.

  Maximum PFAS1 Levels µg/L
(ie micrograms per litre)
LocationDescription ΣPFHxS and PFOSPFOA
Reference valueNew FSANZ Health Based Guidance Values for drinking water quality20.07 µg/L0.56 µg/L
Barunga Raw surface water <0.02 <0.01
Binjari Raw bore water <0.02 <0.01
Jilkminggan Reticulation (tap) water <0.02 <0.01
Eva Valley Reticulation (tap) water <0.02 <0.01
Kybrook Farm Raw bore water <0.02 <0.01

1 ΣPFHxS and PFOS = sum of PFHxS and PFOS

2 Whole of life exposure health based guidance values for use in site investigations in Australia

* All values reported preceded with < indicate the value is below the level of detection of the analysis method.

PFAS testing at wastewater facilities

Power and Water has undertaken testing for PFAS at seven wastewater treatment facilities. This is part of a coordinated program to gauge PFAS contamination in the Northern Territory.

Results to date indicate that none of the facilities have contaminated surface waters and are not a source of contaminated surface water to the environment.

Table 1: The contamination thresholds for individual PFAS in surface waters PFOS or PFOA concentrations (NSW EPA 2016)

Trigger Point 1

Elevated contamination

10 μg/L

Trigger Point 2

Current screening guideline

0.1 μg/L

Trigger Point 3

Low level of contamination

0.05 μg/L

Trigger Point 4

Limits to analytical methodologies

**0.01 μg/L

**The laboratory used by Power and Water had Limits of Reporting PFOS=0.00042, PFHxS=0.00022, PFOA=0.00018

Table 2: Screening level results Power and Water wastewater facilities - January 2017

Location Average concentration (µg/L)

PFOSPFHxSPFOA

Alice Springs

   

Influent onsite

0.0011

<0.00022

0.0014

Effluent onsite (no discharge)

0.017

0.0049

0.016

Recycled water

0.00083

0.0023

0.011

Katherine

   

Influent on site

0.014

0.018

0.0023

Effluent on site (no discharge)

0.016

0.015

0.0047

Tennant Creek

   

Influent onsite

0.0061

0.0047

0.0036

Effluent onsite (no discharge)

0.0036

0.0011

0.0069

Darwin

   

Ludmilla

   

Influent onsite

0.010

0.005

0.016

Effluent offsite

0.0044

0.0016

0.0012

Leanyer Sanderson

   

Influent onsite

0.013

0.0060

0.0019

Effluent offsite

0.013

0.0051

0.023

Palmerston

   

Domestic Influent onsite

0.00063

<0.00022

0.0011

Trade Waste Influent onsite*

<0.0003

<0.0003

<0.0003

Effluent offsite

0.0034

0.0005

0.00061

Berrimah

   

Influent onsite

0.0080

0.0056

0.002

Effluent offsite

0.013

0.010

0.012

*The trade waste stream was sampled in December 2016 and sent to a different laboratory with Limits of Reporting PFOS=0.0003, PFHxS=0.0003, PFOA=0.0003

REFERENCES

NSW EPA Environmental Risk Sciences Pty Ltd (enRiskS) (2016)

Proposed Decision Tree for Prioritising Sites Potentially Contaminated with PFASs

Helpful information