The water sector is committed to ensuring the provision of safe and secure drinking water to customers and communities. Water utilities in Australia are regulated, including for health and the environment.

"In relation to drinking water, water utilities are required to meet the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines which are set by the National Health and Medical Research Council. The Guidelines set out key principles and practices underpinned by available scientific evidence to manage the threats to drinking water safety. The Guidelines are applied by state and territory health departments, drinking water regulators, local health authorities and water utilities to each water supply based on its specific risks", said Mr Adam Lovell, Executive Director, Water Services Association of Australia.

"When establishing guideline values, the body of available evidence is assessed using best practice evidence review methods and is considered in the Australian context. It is not unusual for guidance values to vary from country to country depending on the purpose for which they are used, the local context and the interpretation of the evidence", said Mr Lovell.

Mr Lovell added, "within the requirements to meet the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, the water testing that state and territory health departments will require water utilities to do will vary based on the different risks of PFAS in different water supplies. That risk will depend on the presence of sources of PFAS in the supply".

"The most effective way to limit PFAS in drinking water is to identify potential point sources of contamination within drinking water catchments, and work with relevant stakeholders to put in place effective control measures. Source control is generally lower cost, less energy intensive and more effective than implementing treatment technology.

The water sector has been proactively working with state and federal EPAs, health departments and other agencies to identify and control PFAS at their source. The sector continues to invest in relevant research to support these efforts. This work, often being led by and in partnership with other sectors, helps to inform water monitoring and treatment where they are required, improve policy decisions and lead to a better understanding of the specific human health and environment risks associated with PFAS", said Mr Lovell.

WSAA's Fact Sheet on PFAS is available HERE 

11 Jun 2024

Sandi Kolbe

Sandi Kolbe

Communications Manager