Dam water ?safe to drink


WHEN Ballina mayor Phil Silver discovered that Emigrant Creek Dam was contaminated with arsenic and DDT, he immediately ordered pumping from it to stop. But after reading detailed reports, he is now satisfied the quality of water complies with drinking water guidelines. Plans for the dam to be used as Ballina and Lennox Head's main water supply are proceeding. However, Cr Margaret Howes will not be drinking it. "My grandmother died from DDT poisoning, and I certainly don't want to do the same," she said yesterday. The dam was built in 1968 over an old cattle dip where DDT and arsenic were used. In 2002, when Rous Water drew down the dam's water level, sediment tests revealed arsenic and DDT contamination, according to Wayne Franklin, Rous operational services manager. "Emigrant Creek water is systematically analysed for chemicals that would have been used in the dip site," Cr Silver said yesterday. "Since the commencement of this routine analysis, the arsenic concentration has not exceeded the detection limit of 0.001 mg/litre. "The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines limit for arsenic is 0.007 mg/litre. This indicates the chemicals from the dip site are not entering the drinking water system." Rous Water general manager Paul Muldoon said that even if there was arsenic or DDT in the water, current and new filtration systems would get rid of it.

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