2011 September: Pesticides in 2 Drinking Water Supply Tanks Forest Glen Qld. Pesticide: Diuron

POLICE are investigating the deliberate poisoning of two drinking water supply tanks at Marshall’s Lagoon, Forest Glen.

The highly toxic herbicide Diuron, which has serious side effects if ingested, was detected in two 5000-litre tanks on the property.

An on-site caretaker will know today whether the persistent bowel and stomach ailment that has weakened his health recently is the result of drinking water.

Detective Senior Sergeant Darren Edwards said the water had been tested through an accredited laboratory and there was no doubt that it had been contaminated.

“We have an ongoing investigation,” he said. “It was in an isolated area and whoever did it would need to know where the tanks were.

“It was a mongrel act. If a little kid had drunk water from the hose it may have had a very bad effect.”

The caretaker, Mick Stanton, said he realised something was wrong when water he put into a jug to make a cup of tea began frothing out of the top.

Water had also frothed in the sink when he had attempted to wash up.

“I’ve had an upset bowel and stomach and have been taking tablets ever since to settle it,” he said. “I just hope it’s nothing too serious.”

Property owner Bob Marshall said he had his own theories as to who may be responsible but would leave the matter in the hands of police investigators.

The tanks have been emptied and thoroughly cleaned.

Mr Marshall’s wife Kathy said young children regularly played near the tanks and could easily have had a drink from the tap.

“I hate to think what could have happened if one of the little kiddies had drunk it,” Mrs Marshall said.

“We’re worried sick.”

The Queensland Government has proposed a ban on Diuron because of fears about its impact on the Great Barrier Reef. It is used as a weed control agent in cane growing and as a cotton growing defoliant.

It contains Phenylurea Urea and can cause serious damage to health if swallowed. People using it are warned to wash hands carefully as well as gloves and any equipment used in its distribution.

The attack follows the alleged attempted poisoning of 70 hectares of strawberries at Gowinta Farms at Beerwah.