2007 June: Acrolein Southern Rural Water.

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Gippsland Times June 1 2007: TESTS have confirmed the chemical acrolein has been detected in the Thomson River after being used as a weed killer by Southern Rural Water. The chemical is used to kill submerged weeds in SRW’s main southern and main northern channels. Freedom of Information documents obtained by the Gippsland Times show levels of almost three parts per million were recorded at a site referred to by the test papers as “Heyfield Intermittent Town Supply”. A reading of more than four parts per million was detected at the point referred to as “Swimming Pool Check”. Both sites were tested as part of the main southern channel. In the main northern channel, readings of five parts per million were recorded at sites referred to as “Football Lane” and “Coloe’s Road”. The testing was carried out by SRW following use of the chemical. The SRW response to the FOI request also states SRW “does not routinely monitor chemicals within its water supply networks” as it is not required to by law. Victorian Agricultural Chemicals Advisory Committee representative Anthony Amis questioned what arrangement SRW had with regard to alerting water authorities of the chemical treatments and sought assurances the chemicals could not enter the water supply for Maffra via the Macalister River. While he admitted acrolein had a relatively short half life of around two days, he said the chemical had been the subject of a fish kill investigation in the Goulburn River – an irrigation district. “Fingers were pointed at use of acrolein which is highly toxic to fish,” he said. “There was a report done by the EPA.” SRW also uses roundup as a form of weed control. Tests for glyphosphate came in below the detection limit, according to the FOI document. An SRW spokesperson had not responded to request for an interview at the time of going to print.