WATER — PFAS TESTING
671. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the minister representing the
Minister for Water:
I refer to PFAS water contamination
widely reported in the Bullsbrook area.
(1) Why is the Water Corporation
testing for PFAS chemicals in Perth's wastewater?
(2) What readings
of PFAS were found in samples tested and what are the locations where PFAS
chemicals were found?
(3) Has any testing for PFAS been
conducted in mains scheme water?
(4) If yes to (3), where and what
are the results?
ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:
I thank the member for the question.
The following information has been provided to me by the Minister for Water. I am
sorry; I have not seen these answers before now.
(1) PFAS are considered to be emerging contaminants of
concern. Following the release of the ''PFAS National
Environmental Management Plan'' in 2018, which outlined guidelines for
health, ecological and soil use for three PFAS compounds, the Water Corporation
partnered with RMIT University, Melbourne Water and SA Water to better
understand the levels of PFAS in wastewater.
(2) All Water
Corporation wastewater treatment plant final effluent results for PFAS were
below the health guidelines. The levels of PFOS were slightly elevated above
the NEMP levels for ecological protection for fresh and marine waters. The
corporation has been in consultation with the Department of Water and
Environmental Regulation and other water utilities, and these findings are
consistent with tested wastewater across the country.
(3) In August 2018, the Australian drinking water
guidelines were amended to incorporate two PFAS health-based guideline values. These are 0.07 micrograms per litre of
PFOS and PFHxS, and 0.56 micrograms per
litre of PFOA. The Water Corporation is sampling water sources through an
evidence-based risk assessment approach, including a new monitoring program,
targeted at 17 priority locations throughout Western Australia. This program
commenced during 2018–19 and had the support of the Department of
(4) Sixteen of
the 17 water sources tested had no detections above the limit of detection for
PFAS. The seventeenth site was Esperance. More information on those findings
can be found at