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Bundaberg water contaminated since 2017

Bundaberg Regional Council had test results from September last year which showed elevated levels of chemicals in one of the regional Queensland city's reservoirs, but only acted on them last week.

Queensland Health has advised the water supply for the Svensson Heights area has been contaminated by PFAS chemicals at twice the national standard.

Around five thousand people are thought to be serviced by the reservoir.

Queensland Health said the council conducted routine testing in September last year, but only approached the Wide Bay Public Health Unit last Thursday, April 5, to flag an issue.

Council then conducted further tests, and turned off the water supply from that reservoir on Wednesday this week, six days after the initial finding.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said blood tests are being conducted on people in the area, but insisted the risk to the community was minimal.

"I want to reassure residents that the risk of any consequence for the health of people in the community is low," Dr Young said.

"There is no consistent evidence that PFAS causes any specific illnesses in humans."

A Queensland Health spokesman said Dr Young knew of the contamination fears last week, but said it was up to council to make the issue public.

"Until last week, our only involvement was processing some samples for council. We became involved from the public health angle last week," the spokesman said.

Liberal National Party Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has accused the state government of sitting on the issue for a week to avoid bad publicity while Prince Charles was visiting Bundaberg.

"You'd think the Premier may have wanted to mention that when she was in Bundaberg last week for the Royal visit," Ms Frecklington said in a statement.

However, a spokeswoman for Health Minister Steven Miles says the minister was only briefed on the situation on Friday afternoon, just before it was made public.

It follows similar chemicals leaking into the Brisbane river last year from a Qantas hangar at Brisbane airport.

In that case the chemicals came from firefighting foam, while the cause of the Bundaberg contamination is being investigated.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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