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Water contamination alert

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti has called for urgent independent testing after high levels of lead were found in drinking water at Whiteman Park.

Today Tonight commissioned the testing after the lead crisis at Perth Children’s Hospital and half of the 10 drinking fountains and taps tested had elevated lead levels.

One tap in the Whiteman Park village, labelled as filtered drinking water, had lead at 0.18mg/L, which is 18 times the limit set by health authorities.

A tap next to the Motor Museum had 0.15mg/L – 15 times the maximum acceptable level of 0.01mg/L.

Other affected drinking fountains were at Mussel Pool and the village water playground.

The high lead levels prompted swift action by authorities who shut off contaminated fountains near playgrounds and picnic areas and warning signs have now been placed around the State Government owned park.

Ms Saffioti said she was advised of the heightened lead levels on Monday afternoon and she immediately directed the closure of the drinking water supply, and the relevant health and water stakeholders notified.

She said visitors to the park are advised to bring their own water and  bottled water is being provided to all park lessees, operators and their respective employees, and volunteers.

Ms Saffioti said water fountains at Babbler Park were closed as a precaution as heightened lead levels were alleged to have been found there, but no contamination was found after the Water Corporation  conducted tests.

Ms Saffioti said  the City of Swan was also carrying out tests on water samples taken directly from water fountains within Babbler Park.

She said there has been no detection of lead above health guideline levels across the Water Corporation metropolitan water supply scheme since formal records began 17 years ago.

A Department of Health spokesperson said drinking water guidelines state concentration of lead in drinking water should not exceed 0.01mg/L.
  The spokesperson said as patrons tended to be occasional visitors and often brought their own drinks a child who drank water from the system from time to time would not have any adverse health effects.

“But the Health Department will work with the Department of Planning to investigate the water supply and take any action needed to ensure supply is safe.”

About Rashelle Predovnik

Rashelle has been the senior journalist at Echo News since June 2011. She was a finalist in the WA Media Awards in 2015 and 2013. In 2014 Rashelle took out the whole print category in the Deborah Kirwan Media Awards for a series of stories she wrote that has positively influenced community attitudes towards seniors. In 2013, Rashelle was a finalist in the Consumer Protection Media Awards. Before joining Echo News, Rashelle worked at WA Business News, Media Monitors, she was a freelance journalist and taught journalism units at Murdoch University.

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