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Water test results delay labelled a ‘disservice’

Members of the public should have already been notified if their water was tainted by the HWP fire, according to Shadow Health Minister Dr Kathy Michelmore.

While Government said test results will be available in around two weeks, Sen Michelmore said the delay is a disservice to members of the public who have been affected.

“People need to be assured about the safety of the water they use in their homes,” she said.

“This is a real disservice to the people who’s water may have been contaminated by ash fallout from the August 8 fire.”

The Heath Department has said that it has taken samples from ten homes downwind of the fire, testing for contaminants such as dioxin, furans and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

The samples, collected between August 15 and August 17, have been sent to an overseas laboratory for testing.

Sen Michelmore said the testing should have been done sooner, particularly with the public’s health potentially at risk.

“Shortly after the fire, [The OBA] urged quick action to test the water in some of the homes directly in the path of the smoke plume,” she said.

“We specifically recommended sending water samples by courier, for quick turnaround, to a US water testing facility if the Government lab was unable to provide analysis.

“Speed was of the essence because many residents downwind of the mid-afternoon fire did not block their roof downpipes before the heavy rain on Monday night of the fire and the following Tuesday.

“The Department of Health needs to explain the delay in testing and provide precise information about when people can expect to hear the results.”

Smoke billows from the HWP blaze last month.

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Published September 07, 2011 at 9:46 am (Updated September 07, 2011 at 9:46 am)

Water test results delay labelled a ‘disservice’

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