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800 tests needed for Williamtown contamination: EPA

October 29, 2015

Environment officials investigating contamination from the Williamtown air force base say residents have started to get results back from water testing on their properties.

A meeting of the Williamtown Community Reference Group was held overnight, where locals were updated on the situation.

A contamination zone has been drawn up around the base, after it was revealed toxic chemicals have leached into ground and surface water off site.

The Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) Hunter manager Adam Gilligan says testing on private properties is still being carried out.

“It’s at individual points across the area and some of those results have already come back with elevated levels of contamination and others are clear,” he said.

“But we’re reminding residents that they need to continue with the precautions around the use of bore water so that we get a bigger picture before they make decisions about re-use of that water.”

The EPA has warned restrictions on water usage as a result of the contamination will likely remain in place for some time.

Following last night’s community meeting, officials are briefing local politicians today.

Mr Gilligan said the EPA is working with Defence to produce a “health risk assessment” for the area.

“It will involve much more comprehensive testing of a whole range of things in the area and looking at all the potential pathways for human exposure from these chemicals,” he said.

“That will involve well over 800 samples being taken in the area and that’s going to take some time.”

Published by ABC News, 23/10/2015