The Hon. DUNCAN GAY: I provide the following response to a question asked of me today by the Hon. Mick Veitch concerning the herbicide atrazine:
- Following recent routine stream water sampling in the Tumut region, Forests NSW detected a concentration of atrazine in two samples that exceeded the Australian Drinking Water Standards [ADWS]. Forests NSW use atrazine in combination with other chemicals to control weeds in newly established pine plantations. This is an authorised use of this herbicide and atrazine is a widely used herbicide. Atrazine is highly mobile in water and as such Forests NSW is careful to ensure that it does not enter waterways but also tests after application so it is aware if it has been carried into minor streams and waterways by unforseen rainfall events.
- In accordance with Forests NSW herbicide policy and the Environment Protection Authority [EPA] protocol, Forests NSW notified the Environment Protection Authority, WorkCover, the Greater Southern Area Health Service and the Gundagai Shire Council of the event. Forests NSW also notified as many downstream neighbours as possible as soon as possible. Sampling of water at the neighbours’ pumping points is being undertaken for atrazine so that these neighbours can resume using the water as soon as clearance can be given. The atrazine will be carried downstream and, as it does so, it will be diluted to below hazardous concentrations. A heightened sampling regime is being instituted to monitor the concentrations of atrazine in watercourses. Contingency plans are in place in the event measured concentrations exceed the standards. Forests NSW is continuing to investigate the cause of these incidents and to monitor for the presence of atrazine in the affected streams.
Source: Parliament of NSW Hansard 21/11/2012