More herbicides detected in Barwon Water supply network

Friends of the Earth today expressed alarm at more detections of herbicides in the Barwon Water  Drinking Water Supply network.

Seventeen incidents of pollution occurred within the timeframe all consisting of the phenoxy herbicides 2,4-D, MCPA and 4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid. All of these herbicides are used in regards to killing broadleaved weeds on farms in grazing and cropping situations.

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH MELBOURNE  - PRESS RELEASE 31/8/10

MORE HERBICIDES DETECTED IN BARWON WATER SUPPLY NETWORK.

Friends of the Earth today expressed alarm at more detections of herbicides in the Barwon Water  Drinking Water Supply network. Friends of the Earth conducted a Freedom of Information request with Barwon Water for the year 2009/10.

Seventeen incidents of pollution occurred within the timeframe all consisting of the phenoxy herbicides 2,4-D, MCPA and 4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid. All of these herbicides are used in regards to killing broadleaved weeds on farms in grazing and cropping situations.

“It would appear that the herbicides are entering the water supplies through either runoff or spraydrift” said Friends of the Earth Landuse Reseacher Anthony Amis. “Although the recorded levels appear to be quite low, Friends of the Earth is concerned that pesticide residues continue to be a problem in the Barwon Water System. These substances should not be entering the water supply  under any circumstance. The source may well be only a couple of farmers.”

 "We also have concerns that both 2,4-D and MCPA could contain traces of dioxins, which are some of the most toxic substances known. A recent Australian report* highlighted the fact that several pesticides commonly used in Australia are contaminated with dioxins most likely due to impurties in the manufacturing process. Both 2,4-D and MCPA were mentioned in the report as being contaminated” said Mr Amis. “Are farmers using these products aware that the products could be contaminated with dioxins?” Mr Amis asked.

For several years Friends of the Earth has highlighted to the public that the Barwon Water Supply System has had the most pesticide detections of any water supply in Victoria over the past decade including the highest known reading for 2,4-D in 2003 and the continuous leaching of the pine plantation herbicide hexazinone for 4 years between 2004-2008.  More work needs to be done with farmers operating in water supplies educating them about the problems associated with the misuse of phenoxy herbicides.” concluded Mr Amis

Detections

4/9/09: Birregurra Water Treatment Plant MCPA 0.02ug/L
15/12/09: Wurdee Boluc Inlet Channel – Salt Creek Lane (Geelong Supply) 4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid  0.01ug/L
2/12/09: Forrest Water Treatment Plant MCPA 0.06ug/L
9/12/09: Colac Water Treatment Plant 2,4-D 0.01ug/L
9/12/09: Colac Water Treatment Plant  4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid 0.05ug/L
9/12/09: Gellibrand Water Treatment Plant 4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid 0.05ug/L
15/12/09: Matthews Creek (Geelong Supply) 2,4-D 0.05ug/L
15/12/09: Matthews Creek (Geelong Supply) MCPA 0.07ug/L
15/12/09: Pennyroyal Creek (Geelong Supply) 2,4-D 0.02ug/L
15/12/09: Pennyroyal Creek (Geelong Supply) MCPA 0.01ug/L
15/12/09: Wurdee Boluc Inlet Channel (Geelong Supply) 2,4-D 0.09ug/L
15/12/09: Wurdee Boluc Inlet Channel – Salt Creek Lane (Geelong Supply) 2,4-D 0.03ug/L
3/3/10: Moorabool Water Treatment Plant (Geelong Supply) 2,4-D 0.01ug/L
2/6/10: Meredith Water Treatment Plant 2,4-D 0.03ug/L
2/6/10: Moorabool Water Treatment Plant (Geelong Supply) 2,4-D 0.02ug/L
3/6/10: Apollo Bay Water Treatment Plant 2,4-D 0.02ug/L
11/7/10: Lorne Water Treatment Plant 2,4-D 0.04ug/L

*Polychlorinated Dibenzo-p-Dioxins and Dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs) Impurities in Pesticides: A Negelected Source of Contempory Relevance. [Enviro. Sci. Technol. 2010, 44, 5409-5415

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT ANTHONY AMIS (03) 9419 8700 EXT 11 or 0425 841 564