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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1072 asked in the Legislative Council on 1 November 2018 by Hon Charles Smith

Minister responding: Hon D.J. Kelly
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 1 November 2018

SOIL AND WATER CONTAMINATION — WEST BULLSBROOK

1072. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the minister representing the Minister for Water:

I refer to the per-fluoroalkyl chemical—PFAS—contamination in west Bullsbrook that has been detected in bores, soils and eggs. I also refer to the minister's response from yesterday.

(1) What and how is the alternative water being supplied to the residences affected by PFAS contamination?

(2) Which streets in west Bullsbrook are having alternative water supplied?

(3) In addition to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, what other relevant state agencies are involved in examining the long-term options for supplying fresh, clean water to these properties?

(4) Will the minister now fast-track those residents currently not attached to mains scheme water in west Bullsbrook onto scheme water?

(5) If no to (4), why not?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question. The relevant minister is the Minister for Water and I represent that minister in this place. He has provided the following information.

(1)–(2) As outlined yesterday by the Minister for Environment, the situation is complex. State environmental laws have limited application to commonwealth land, and state agencies have limited line of sight as to the investigation, remediation and mitigation practices of federal agencies. In accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Framework for Responding to PFAS Contamination, the commonwealth is responsible for identifying and managing PFAS contamination on and from commonwealth sites, and on sites where commonwealth government activities have resulted in PFAS contamination. The Department of Defence has informed the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation that, by July 2018, it had tested more than 150 groundwater samples off-base, that groundwater samples collected from six residential bores detected PFAS above drinking water guidance values and that alternative water is being provided to these properties. Questions about the means of supply of alternative water and the specific properties for which such provisions have been made should be addressed to the Department of Defence.

(3) Defence has commenced discussions with the Western Australian Water Corporation, the Western Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation regarding options for providing sustainable long-term drinking water supplies to the properties where PFAS was detected above drinking water guidance values.

(4)–(5) The Water Corporation is liaising with consultants appointed by the appropriate commonwealth departments to provide advice on scheme water options for the west Bullsbrook area.