Bendigo Groundwater Storage Sparks Woodvale Arsenic Contamination Fears

Posted in: Global Water News, Water Contamination
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Article courtesy of ABC News | May 21, 2015 | ABC News | Shared as educational material

A community north of Bendigo has stepped up pressure on the Victorian Government to respond to concern about arsenic contamination.

The Woodvale ponds are being used to store Bendigo’s rising groundwater but residents fear the water poses a health risk.

The environment department will begin talks with Woodvale landholders this week about water and soil testing to check for any toxic material.

The Bendigo District Environment Council’s Simon Perrin said the community would be disappointed if pumping to Woodvale did not stop at the end of June as promised.

“It is a long-term health hazard and it just needs to be fixed,” he said.

“The most obvious way to fix it, and it won’t be cheap, is to remove the arsenic away from people and water.”

Mr Perrin said the extent of the environmental risk was unclear.

“This arsenic is sitting above [the] aquifer, in a flood plain in an area with population,” he said.

“The arsenic needs to be removed away from water and away from people and that needs to be the long-term plan and now that we’ve had contamination turning up in tanks, perhaps it’s time that plan should be moved forward dramatically.”

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s Chris McAuley said a long-term option to deal with the groundwater was still being considered.

He said testing of soil and water at Woodvale had been planned for some time.

“We’re actually meeting with the Department of Health on Monday to go through our sampling program,” he said.

“We’re then looking to meet with the members of the Woodvale community on Wednesday in order to just go through the program with them and to get their input as to whether there’s any particular concerns that we need to consider.”

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