Perth Children’s Hospital Water Quality Being Tested

Perth Children’s Hospital Water Quality Being Tested

Western Australia Minister for Health Roger Cook

CHO To Review Water Treatment Strategies At Perth Children’s Hospital

Victor P Taffa

  • First round of formal testing under Chief Health Officer (CHO) approved protocol shows results 74 % compliant
  • CHO to provide advice on current and additional treatment strategies to remediate lead issue

State Government has called on the Chief Health Officer to oversee a formal assurance process to manage lead levels in the potable water system at Perth Children’s Hospital.

“This is an unprecedented issue left to us to manage by the previous government, and a holistic process is vital to ensure that we understand the remediation required to ensure the safe opening of the Perth Children’s Hospital water supply.” Minister for Health Roger Cook said.

“Chief Health Officer’s analysis indicates that progress in reducing the levels of lead still requires further work.”

While lead levels have improved after phosphate treatment, they still do not meet Australian Drinking Water Guidelines that state that 95 % of lead levels should not exceed 0.01mg/L.

Department of Treasury has continued monitoring and testing the progress of polyphosphate treatment, and from testing completed on May 25 and June 8, they reported results showing an improvement from 89.1 % to 92.5 %. The same data when analysed by the CHO approved protocol, returned results of 79 and 86 % respectively.

“I have asked the CHO to review all written reports and testing results, conduct interviews, consult technical experts as necessary, and report back to me as soon as this analysis has been done.” Mr. Cook said.

“This will be a critical step before clinical commissioning can be completed over a 10-14 week period to open Perth Children’s Hospital, and the CHO will need to consider a broad range of issues to assess the safety of the drinking water now, and into the future.”

Polyphosphate is an approved drinking water additive proven to inhibit lead leaching, and the dezincification of brass fittings, which has been demonstrated in chemical and metallurgical analysis as the cause of elevated lead levels. 

Director General of the Department of Health, the agency now responsible for the hospital, triggered the first formal round of assurance testing. This occurred on June 25 and results provided to the Minister for Health yesterday showed 74 % compliance overall.