2007 March: Pesticides detected in George River: MCPA, Atrazine, 2,4-D, Metsulfuron Methyl.

Fury over water poison MICHELLE PAINE March 22, 2007 The Mercury

POISON detected in St Helens’ drinking water has angered a local doctor, who has asked why residents were not told earlier.

Herbicides MCPA, atrazine and the restricted 2,4-D have been found in three Tasmanian rivers by government testing. Investigations have begun but authorities said finding the source was unlikely.

Agricultural chemicals MCPA and 2,4-D were found in the George River, near where suspicion was raised three years ago after a mass St Helens oyster kill.

Chemicals were also detected in the North-West Duck and Inglis rivers by tests which began two years ago after concern first triggered by the shellfish deaths.

“How can this happen? MCPA was found consistently on February 10 to 13 and still found at the end of testing,” said St Helens GP Alison Bleaney.

“Why is the community put at such risk from this danger, which has been highlighted so many times before?

“There is no health value for this chemical in drinking water guidelines because guidelines have determined it should not be in drinking water,” Dr Bleaney said.

She said chemicals applied in water catchments must have routine water testing afterwards. Dr Bleaney said she was angry that the Government press release was not accurate.

It said the MCPA detection was “transient”, yet it was picked up in 10 tests on consecutive days.

Tasmanian Government registrar of chemical products Ian Parr said it was the first time the chemical had been found in the George River. Mr Parr said investigations were being done.


10/2/07: MCPA 0.1ug/L, 1.11ug/L, 2,4-D 0.53ug/L

11/2/07: MCPA 0.88ug/L, 0.36ug/L, 0.3ug/L, 0.25ug/L, 0.18ug/L, 2,4-D 0.2ug/L

12/2/07: MCPA 0.14ug/L, 0.12ug/L

13/2/07: MCPA 0.12ug/L

30/4/07: Metsulfuron Methyl 0.3ug/L, 0.24ug/L, 0.21ug/L,

1/5/07: Metsulfuron Methyl 0.16ug/L, 0.14ug/L

4/5/07: Metsulfuron Methyl 0.17ug/L, 0.12ug/L, 0.2ug/L, 0.19ug/L, 0.24ug/L

5/5/07: Metsulfuron Methyl 0.19ug/L, 0.13ug/L, 0.1ug/L

6/5/07: Metsulfuron Methyl 0.15ug/L, 0.1ug/L

10/5/07: Metsulfuron Methyl 0.1ug/L

Agricultural Chemicals in Waterways. Tim Morris MP 28/2/08