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SA warns of groundwater chemical contamination in Edwardstown

The South Australia Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has set a groundwater prohibition area for Edwardstown in Adelaide’s south-west due to chemical contamination.

While the nature of the contamination has not been detailed, EPA Acting Director Andrew Pruszinski said the chemicals were of concern and use of the groundwater could cause health issues.

“More than 100 assessment reports were reviewed on seven different source sites of groundwater contamination in parts of Edwardstown and Melrose Park,” he said.

“Contamination in groundwater can remain for many decades or longer, is very difficult to treat, and the most effective way to safeguard the community now and for future generations is to ensure the exposure pathway is removed.”

Pruszinski said reports revealed contaminated groundwater at Edwardstown, South Plympton, Plympton Park, Park Holme and Ascot Park and Melrose Park.

“Any use of bore water has the potential to cause adverse health impacts from known chemicals of concern. We have consulted extensively with the Edwardstown community and began comprehensive engagement about the proposed GPA over the past six months,” he said.

“We have also been working with this community for many years as we have undertaken various assessments of groundwater contamination.

“The community in Edwardstown and surrounding suburbs been provided with significant information of the site contamination concerns within their area, which are due to historical industrial practices.”

Under the prohibition, property owners with bores will not be able to take groundwater for any purpose, depending on where they live.

The majority of the area is contaminated in the first Quaternary aquifer (0 to 8m). However, closer to the source sites the prohibition will extend as far as the second (0 to 15m) and third (0 to 26m) Quaternary aquifers.

The prohibition took effect on effect 9 January and is the second groundwater prohibition area to be established by the EPA.

To hear more about the big issues in SA’s water industry, register for the SA 2018 Water Outlook Breakfast Briefing, presented by the Australian Water Association and Water Industry Alliance, to see Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, and Minister for Climate Change Ian Hunter and Shadow Minister for the Environment David Speirs.

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