Thursday 28 November 2019

Hansard of the Legislative Council
Safe Drinking Water - North-East


[2.48 p.m.]
I ask this question on behalf of the member for McIntyre, who is probably dining with the Queen as we speak.

  1. What actions, including monitoring and any enforcement, have been undertaken by Public Health to ensure provision of safe drinking water in Pioneer?

  2. When will all residents of Pioneer have access to safe drinking water?

  3. What was the cost to TasWater of providing a reticulated water system to Herrick?

  4. What was the cost to TasWater of providing a reticulated water system to Gladstone?

  5. What is the estimated cost to TasWater of providing a reticulated water system to Pioneer?

  6. What is the cost to replace the roofing of the 12 affected properties in Pioneer?

  7. What has been the total cost of testing, monitoring, provision of tank water and consultants spent in investigating the issue of lead contamination in Pioneer?

  8. (Can the minister confirm that TasWater is requiring residents of the 12 contaminated homes of Pioneer to pay approximately $15 000 for repairs to their homes when the roofing is replaced?

  9. In December last year the Director of Public Health, Dr Veitch, identified that TasWater had failed to respond to foreseeable risk to residents in Pioneer.  Why were residents not advised of the direction from Public Health for five months?  What action has been taken since this correspondence?

  10. Can the minister confirm whether recent laboratory tests showed that brass fittings installed by TasWater are leaching lead?


I thank the member for Rosevears for asking that question on behalf of the member for McIntyre while she is overseas.

(1)  I am advised that between 2010 and 2012 a number of low-level exceedances of the       Australian Drinking Water Guidelines quality limit for lead were detected during routine       sampling of water in Pioneer.  Subsequently, the then director of Public Health took the       precautionary action of requiring Ben Lomond Water to issue a 'do not consume' notice to       recipients of this water and to provide them with an alternative supply of safe drinking       water. 

      A plan for service replacement in Pioneer was initiated by Ben Lomond Water and then       undertaken by TasWater, which involved the installation of rainwater tanks managed by       residents.  The process was supported by Public Health Services.  After residents raised       further concerns, Public Health Services engaged with TasWater, which has subsequently       undertaken further assessments and testing of roofs and water in Pioneer, and is
      discussing options with residents.

(2)  It is anticipated that residents will have access to safe drinking water following completion       of works.

(3) to (8)
      Advice is being sought from TasWater regarding these questions.  The Government will       provide the member with correspondence as soon as that advice is received.

(9)  In a letter dated 7 December 2018, the Director of Public Health expressed to TasWater       that while rainwater tanks had been installed widely through Pioneer, the condition of
      some roof catchments and associated plumbing had not been addressed.  I am advised
      that limited water testing had not identified exceedances of the Australian Drinking Water       Guidelines quality limit for lead in tank water. TasWater has installed filters in supplies to
      mitigate this risk to household drinking water, should it arise.  The Director of Public Health
      advised TasWater of his view that further definitive works were needed.

(10) A resident of Pioneer has shared with Public Health Services the results of an analysis of        brass plumbing fittings.  The minister has advised that the results of all the tested fittings        complied with the relevant standard.