West Lakes

West Lakes

On 19 August 2020, the EPA was notified of test results in soil collected at the former Port Adelaide Waste Water Treatment Plant, and in groundwater monitoring bores offsite that are located in reserves and other public land. The results showed per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) above relevant guidelines.

Exposure to PFAS may occur through contact with and ingestion of contaminated soil, however this is unlikely to be a concern due to implementation of previous site remediation measures to manage historical cadmium that was discovered in 1999. If you are in the affected zones you will have been sent

On 19 August 2020, the EPA was notified of test results in soil collected at the former Port Adelaide Waste Water Treatment Plant, and in groundwater monitoring bores offsite that are located in reserves and other public land. The results showed per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) above relevant guidelines.

Exposure to PFAS may occur through contact with and ingestion of contaminated soil, however this is unlikely to be a concern due to implementation of previous site remediation measures to manage historical cadmium that was discovered in 1999. If you are in the affected zones you will have been sent a letter in addition to the community update, together with a copy of the report for your property if work was undertaken there previously. If you are unsure please get in contact with us via the details below.

The EPA is advising residents that groundwater (bore water) in this area may be contaminated with PFAS and should not be used for any purpose. Rainwater and mains water (tap water) are not affected.

As a result of the notification, the EPA will be undertaking a program to sample the lake water, groundwater, fish and crustaceans. This work is expected to commence on Wednesday. The EPA will update you of these results as soon as they become available.

The EPA has today written to residents that were impacted previously by the soil contamination, providing a copy of the documentation from previous work offered and/or implemented. The EPA has published information outlining what this means for residents and users of West Lakes. Please see the community update on the right hand side of this page.

If you have any feedback, questions or concerns, please contact us on:

  • Fish testing results in

    28 Sep 2020
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    Laboratory testing of fish from West Lakes has confirmed that per-and-poly fluroalkyl substances (PFAS) are not present at levels that would make fish unfit for human consumption. The EPA also tested for heavy metals in the samples, because of the cadmium found previously in West Lakes soil in some areas. The results confirm that cadmium is also not present at levels that would make fish unfit for human consumption.

    Results did however, confirm that lead was found in both fish and crustaceans sampled, above levels that are set by the Foods Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). SA Health has therefore advised that fish fillets from West Lakes are safe to eat, but whole or macerated fish and mussels are not recommended for human consumption. The taking of mussels and all bivalve shellfish has been banned for several decades in West Lakes under the Fisheries Management Act 2007.

    A copy of the report on the test results can be downloaded from the right hand side of this page.


  • Water quality test results in

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    The EPA took water samples from several locations around the lake in late August 2020. Test results have confirmed that the lake is safe for recreational use, with no detectable concentrations of PFAS in the water samples collected from West Lakes at any of the sampling locations. Traces of PFAS were found in stormwater, which feeds into the lake system, but at levels that were well below the national standard.

    These results confirm our previous advice that it is safe for swimmers and rowers to use the lake. Fish samples collected from the lake are also being analysed and we will provide a further update when we have those results.

    A copy of the report on the test results can be downloaded from the link on the right hand side of this page.

    If you have any queries at all in regard to the testing or results, please contact us on:

    • Ph: (08) 8204 2004
    • Email
  • Recreational water use

    23 Aug 2020
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    The amount of PFAS swallowed accidentally while using West Lakes will be very small and therefore, even if the water contains small amounts of PFAS, it would not pose a health risk. Exposure to PFAS from recreational water may occur while undertaking activities such as swimming, rowing, fishing, or sailboarding. The most likely route of exposure to PFAS is accidentally swallowing the lake water during activities involving full immersion in water.

    Dermal absorption through skin contact is slow, and does not result in significant exposure. PFAS chemicals are essentially nonā€volatile, which means they do not evaporate and will not be in the air or pose a risk from inhalation. PFAS exposure may occur by consuming fish caught within the Adelaide metropolitan region. The EPA has undertaken a survey to assess the risk from PFAS to the marine environment, particularly focusing on higher risk locations such as the Port River.

    Commonly targeted recreational fish and invertebrates from the inner Port and North Arm region have been sampled, with PFAS found to be stored predominantly in the liver. Lower concentrations were found in the frames, and the fillets had the lowest concentration. While small traces of one type of PFAS was found in the flesh of fish and invertebrates, advice from SA Health was that they were all safe to eat.

  • Bore water

    23 Aug 2020
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    In 2000, the Department of Human Services issued a public warning regarding the use of groundwater (bore water) in the West Lakes area. Residents in the West Lakes development area were advised that bore water should not be used for the growing of fruit or vegetables until further notice.

    The EPA now advises residents that bore water in this area may be contaminated with PFAS and should continue to not be used for any purpose. Rainwater and mains water (tap water) are not affected.

  • Poultry

    23 Aug 2020
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    There are reports of PFAS accumulating in the eggs of chickens housed at a fire station in Adelaide. While it is possible for PFAS to accumulate in eggs sourced from chickens in your backyard, it is unlikely to be a route of PFAS exposure for residents in the West Lakes region due to implementation of previous mitigation and remediation recommendations used to manage historic cadmium contamination in the region.

    If mitigation and remediation measures recommended in 2001 for properties where sewage sludge is known to exist have not been maintained at your property, avoid consumption of the eggs sourced from your backyard until the measures are restored.