12 Pioneer properties record high lead readings


• A Pioneer resident lead painted roof attached to a water tank.
Image supplied by Tim Slade.

By Taylor Clyne,
September 11, 2019

The saga of Pioneer’s water woes is still continuing with twelve properties most recently returning results of heavy metal concentrates above the criteria in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
Of the 43 properties in Pioneer 32 opted to participate in TasWater’s recent rainwater catchment inspection program with a further two properties scheduled for the next round of testing.
The water quality testing came after years of unrest by residents who are living without a reticulated water supply and concerned of unsafe water inside their tanks.
In May TasWater announced that they would carry out further investigations at Pioneer in a bid to alleviate concerns.
“We are making every effort to contact the owners of the remaining nine properties some of which are deceased estates or are not permanently occupied,” a TasWater spokesperson said.
“So far the owners of 34 properties have responded to our invitation to participate in the rainwater catchment inspection program.
“The initial inspection involves assessment of materials and sampling of water quality in the rainwater tanks.
“Our testing has identified a number of tanks with lead concentrations above the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
“For owners of these properties we have engaged a consultant and contractor to identify suitable solutions for safe harvesting of rainwater for drinking,” the spokesperson explained.
Pioneer resident Kevin Wagner said his property was one of the twelve that had returned high metal concentration readings.
“Yes, it is a bit concerning but knowing how rusty my roof is, I can probably understand it,” he said.
“TasWater have emptied my two tanks, disconnected them from our water catchment and refilled them with treated water.
“They have also sent out an engineer to look at what we can do long term, we are just waiting to hear,” Mr Wagner said.
“I think it’s a good thing, we are happy with just tank water but if they wanted to put treated water in the town, we wouldn’t knock it back.
“I’m probably 60, 40 on that whole water issue – I don’t think it’s quite enough, but I do understand. I think the tanks are okay – what I’d suggest is that those houses that don’t have enough water maybe give them another tank or be prepared to fill those tanks up once or twice a year if people run out for free.”
TasWater said that many of the properties with high metal readings had their current rainwater catchments painted with lead in concentrations above contemporary guidelines.
“Others had not recently cleaned or maintained their catchments and tanks,” the spokesperson said.
“We are working with our consultants and the Department of Health to determine a permanent solution for these property owners.
“We will engage with the owners for these properties once a suitable approach that will resolve the issues and enable them to harvest rainwater safely.
“In the interim, we have disconnected the tanks from their current rainwater catchment, and will drain, clean and refill the tanks with potable water and provide bottled water when requested,” the spokesperson concluded.
The Advertiser will continue to follow the results of these tests.