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PFAS Investigation &
Management Program

Katherine Water Management

Katherine Management Activities

Katherine Town Water

The Katherine town water supply is primarily sourced from the Katherine River, supplemented with treated groundwater.

Defence is undertaking an environmental investigation to understand the nature and extent of PFAS at RAAF Base Tindal and nearby areas. During the course of this investigation PFAS was detected in Katherine’s ground water. Since ground water comprises only a small proportion of Katherine’s town water supply, Northern Territory and federal health authorities have confirmed that the town water is safe to drink.

As a precaution, Defence has introduced a range of water management measures. These measures will ensure that the Katherine town water remains safe to drink.

Water Treatment Plants

Katherine Water Corporation
Treatment Plant

Defence, in collaboration with NT Power and Water, installed a groundwater treatment plant in Katherine to supplement peak demands and improve security of the current supply. The plant became fully operational in November 2017 and is supplying treated groundwater through Katherine's reticulated water system.

The plant filters PFAS from bore water before it is blended with water from the Katherine River at the NT Power and Water Corporation’s water treatment plant to supplement the town water supply. The Katherine town water supply is usually a mixture of Katherine River water (90%) and bore water (10%). This blend is being carefully monitored by NT Power and Water Corporation to ensure that PFAS levels in the Katherine water supply remain below the health based guidance values.

Further information on the Power and Water Corporation PFAS water testing can be found on the Northern Territory Power and Water Website. Further information on the plant is available in the factsheet here.

Water Sampling Results

The Water Sampling Summaries track the PFAS concentrations against the limits defined by the relevant adopted drinking water screening criteria. They include results for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid (6:2 FTS) and the sum of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS).

The water quality data is drawn from water samples on both untreated and treated water. The summaries of water sampling results can be downloaded below.

RAAF Base Tindal
Groundwater Treatment Plants

Defence is installing two water treatment plants at RAAF Base Tindal. The water treatment plants will treat extracted groundwater.

The first treatment plant is under construction at the Fire Training Area and will be completed soon, to be followed by a testing and commissioning period. The plant is expected to be fully operational in first quarter 2019. The second treatment plant at the Fire Station Area is expected to be operational around mid 2019.

Defence will provide further information as the planning and installation progresses.

Tindal groundwater treatment plant
Tindal groundwater treatment plant

Installation of one of the RAAF Base Tindal groundwater treatment plants

Rainwater Tanks

Defence is funding the purchase and installation of rainwater tanks for eligible property owners in Katherine. To be eligible you must be located in the Investigation Area, not be connected to town water and rely on bore water for consumption. To find out more about this initiative please download the factsheet or contact the investigation information line.

Compulsory Water Conservation Measures

NT Power and Water has introduced compulsory water conservation measures to help reduce Katherine’s reliance on bore water.

More information is available on the NT Power and Water Website.

Long Term Solutions to Managing PFAS

Defence will continue to work with the NT Government and NT Power and Water Corporation to develop a permanent solution to continue minimising the level of PFAS in Katherine. NT Power and Water Corporation is investigating options for long-term solutions for the Katherine town water supply such as upgrading infrastructure to permanently treat bore water to remove PFAS.