2004 June: Campbell Town (Tas) Drinking Water. Pesticide Detected: Simazine

Town has herbicide in water by Danny Rose 18 June 2004

The Health Department says Campbell Town’s drinking water is safe, despite the discovery of a toxic herbicide. Tests done by the plantation division of forestry company Gunns Ltd have shown a minute level of simazine upstream from where the town draws its water.

Residents were alerted in a letter sent from Northern Midlands late last month, which also labelled the find as “insignificant”.

The Greens raised the discovery in State Parliament yesterday, and called for further investigation by Health Minister David Llewellyn. Green MHA for Lyons Tim Morris said some residents still held concerns. It is understood simazine is used in the management of plantations in the Lake Leake catchment area, where the town’s water supply is drawn.

Water quality is monitored by Gunns as part of a deal struck with council. “The contamination of drinking water with simazine and atrazine has been a controversial issue over the past decade in Tasmania,” Mr Morris said yesterday. “At one stage drinking water was trucked into Derby when it was found forestry spraying had contaminated the water supply. “Campbell Town residents need to know whether the Health Department was notified of this, and whether further testing has been undertaken to determine what levels of simazine were in the water supply.”


Director of Public Health Rosco Taylor said he was told of the discovery yesterday. He said there was no risk to residents according to council figures. “But I am seeking more details from the Northern Midlands Council to confirm this information,” he said.