Drinking water fountains at Optus Stadium will undergo an independent risk assessment after The Sunday Times revealed some were leaching lead.

Independent Water Risk AssessmentIn response Stadium owner VenuesWest has contracted consultant Ecosafe International to do the assessment and prepare a Water Quality Risk Management Plan to outline any measures that should be taken.

In April, the newspaper engaged forensic chemists at TSW Analytical to design and conduct a water sampling program for eight drinking water fountains in Stadium Park, just outside the new venue.

After testing Dr John Watling, chief scientist of TSW Analytical, concluded water in the fountains had elevated lead when not flushed adequately.

Dr Watling said no one was going to suffer lead poisoning from the fountains. “However, it must be remembered that lead is being leached into the system and accumulating to levels that are inappropriate for drinking water,” he said.

The TSW findings confirmed results from two sampling exercises by The Sunday Times in February. On Friday, a VenuesWest spokeswoman said: “The Department of Health and VenuesWest have reviewed the TSW Report and take the results seriously.”

The Government agency said the risk assessment would include potable water and drinking fountain units in the stadium and surrounding park.

The Health Department will review the Water Quality Risk Management Plan when it’s completed next month.

The spokeswoman added: “VenuesWest has confirmed all drinking fountain units in Stadium Park are WaterMark certified and the installation of the drinking fountain units was in accordance with the Australian plumbing guidelines.”

A regular flushing regime was in place across the stadium and park to ensure fresh water flowed within the potable water system, she said.

A Health Department spokesman said: “The Department of Health has been in contact with VenuesWest and is supportive of their current strategies to identify and manage any health risk.”

In TSW’s tests, first-draw samples from six of eight drinking fountains contained lead levels exceeding Australian Drinking Water Guidelines’ maximum acceptable concentration of 0.01mg/L. Lead levels return to acceptable levels after taps are flushed for a minute.

As revealed by The Sunday Times, the Australian Building Codes Board has commissioned a research project to investigate potential sources of lead in plumbing materials.

Source: Perth Now | Reporter: John Flint

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