Royal George Water Quality Update
Public and Environmental Health (PEH) continues to work closely with the community, the local council and multiple State Government agencies to ensure health risks related to St Pauls River water are appropriately managed.
The health of the Royal George residents who draw water directly from the St Pauls River has always been our central concern. We will continue to work closely with them, and keep them informed of any developments.
In March 2011, a community meeting was held where residents were updated on the results of environmental monitoring and planned remedial works.
To date, residents have been advised that:
- There has been no harm to any resident's health as a result of contamination of the river.
- It is safe to drink rainwater – but, as always, residents are advised to manage rainwater tanks to prevent microbiological risks.
- It is safe to bathe children in water drawn from the river.
- It is safe to eat home grown vegetables and fruit in Royal George.
- It is safe for children to play in gardens.
- It is safe to eat fish and eels caught from the St Pauls river.
- It is not safe to eat mussels from the St Pauls river.
In October 2007, the Northern Midlands Council (NMC) informed PEH that they had received test results from the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER) which indicated that the St Pauls River was contaminated with heavy metals after heavy rainfall.
We undertook further sampling in October 2007. The samples were collected during the dry weather period that Tasmania was experiencing at that time. The results indicated the levels of heavy metal in the river were acceptable (ie below drinking water health guideline values).
However, it was not regarded as safe to be used by residents for drinking purposes on an ongoing basis. Residents were advised not to drink the river water.
In mid-March 2010, after lots of rain, it came to our attention that some residents were drawing water from the river and continuing to use the water for drinking purposes. We instigated a public health investigation and re-issued warnings against drinking the water. Affected households were provided with an alternative source of drinking water.
On ground remedial work is currently underway to minimise contamination of the St Pauls River after heavy rain.
Last updated: 26 May 2011