1986 November: Rainbow (Vic). Pesticides: Fenvalerate.

Wimmera Mail Times October 27 1986: Dead Yabbies found in “two of the towns four water storgaes and also in dams near Nhill and Pimpinio”

10 November 1986: ADCRC Meeting “Mr … reported that the tissue tests on yabbies found dead and dying in three storages around Rainbow showed the insecticide Fenvalerate to be present at 10 parts per billion. However, the channel waters and sediments tested did not show positive results for either Fenvalerate or for the synthetic pyrethroids which were also sprayed, although Fenvalerate was detected in some puddle samples.”

20 March 1987 DCFL Memorandum:In October 1986, aerial spraying of field peas for pea weevil and heliotis resulted in extensive yabby mortalities in water stored and farm dams in the Rainbow area. The RWC immediately closed the Rainbow urban storages and took samples of water, sediments and yabbies for chemical analysis. No chemicals were found in water or sediments, but fenvalerate … was detected at a concentration of 10 parts per million in yabbies…

22 June 1987 Rural Water Corporation (RWC): In 1986 the Rainbow storage was contaminated with insecticide resulting in death of yabbies. The cause was identifed as the aerial spraying of pea crops. DCFL reported 9 other yabbie kills plus one of fish. Subsequent to the contamination of the Rainbow storage no further contamination of any waterway was reported…

21 July 1987: “The Water Commission continues to be concerned that off-target aerial spraying of insecticides or pea crops this year could contaminate water supplies…”

24 July 1987 RWC Memorandum: “… the issue of avoiding potential contamination of water supplies is vital… The urban storages should be highlighted on a plan and the contractors informed that the RWC opposes spraying near flowing channels, storages containing water and within 100m of urban storages…” [Aerial spraying of Wimmera Pea crops].

28 September 1987: RWC Memorandum: The Commission has had recent concerns with off-target spraying of insecticides in the Wimmera and Mallee where urban storages have been polluted. In the present act there is only provision for declaring horticultural areas as hazardous areas, but not waterways or storages…

29 September 1987 Rural Water Corporation

Re: Spray drift from spraying field pea crops adjacent to Rural Water Commission waterways.

“… The seriousness of water contamination was highlighted last year where there was a large yabbie kill in one of the Rainbow urban storages. Fortunately no-ill effects were passed onto the people of Rainbow. The contamination in this case was due to spray drift entering the storage from aerial spraying of a pea crop immediately adjacent to the storage…”

“Last year the urban storage of the RWC at Rainbow was polluted with insecticide from off-target aerial spraying of a field pea crop. There were also other fish and yabby kills in the Wimmera for the same reason…”

29 September 1987 RWC to ADCRC: “You asked to be kept informed of initiatives taken by the RWC to avoid repitition of insecticide contamination of urban storages in the Wimmera and Mallee by aerial spraying…”

October 2 1987: Spray forum Horsham – 200 people attended. In 1985/6 616,000ha of crops and 16,000ha of pasture were sprayed with herbicides. 45,000ha of crops and 8,000ha of pasture sprayed with insecticides.

Time covered in FoI request: 25/6/05 – 20/8/07:

Wimmera Mallee Pipeline being constructed. This will substantially reduce risk of runoff into channels.

Current Pesticide Testing Regimes:

NATA accredited laboratory working on behalf of GWMWater, scan checks for traces of; Lindane, Aldrin, Dieldrin, Heptachlor Epoxide, 4-4-DDD, 4-4-DDE, 4,4-DDT, Hexachlorobenzene (HCB). Testing appears to be based on annual checks however it appears that some supplies are not tested annually and some more than annually. Due to the information sourced from the FoI further explanations are impossible.

No positive results detected.