CONTAMINATION: Petrol leak leaves Woolomin without clean water for months

SAFETY FIRST: Tamworth mayor Col Murray and acting general manager Peter Thompson said the Woolomin community’s health was first and foremost. 180216GGA12

SAFETY FIRST: Tamworth mayor Col Murray and acting general manager Peter Thompson said the Woolomin community’s health was first and foremost. 180216GGA12

►RELATED:What's next for Woolomin 

CLEAN water is being trucked into Woolomin after a leaking petrol tank left the town with contaminated ground water.

Tamworth Region Council (TRC) said it would take months to rid the water table of the contamination.

Residents have been told not to drink from their bores.

Council is trucking treated water to residents with tanks at no cost.

Government funding is being sought to install tanks at properties that don’t have one.

Residents who are reliant on bore water for drinking or cooking can pick up bottled water from the Woolomin Gold Rush Store.

At least 400 litres of petrol leaked from one of the store’s underground tanks.

Council informed the town’s residents on Tuesday, two weeks after the leak was first reported, after a series of tests confirmed two of the town’s bores contained unsafe levels of hydrocarbons.

Council acting general manager Peter Thompson said the council didn’t know if the contamination would spread past Woolomin.

“Hopefully it won’t, if we can contain it. We don’t really know the answer to that,” Mr Thompson said.

“If it was accurate that there was 400 litres  – there may have been more, if there was a leak that wasn’t detected – how far would that disperse? Fuel is very dispersive in water, so it’s a hard question.

“It could potentially go a long way.”

So far the contamination has spread at least 80 metres away from the store.

It is expect to move north through the water table, impacting the town’s other bores.

Council should get the results of more tests on Monday.

“That will give us a better idea of where the plume is at, and we are hoping it won’t be very far from the general store,” Mr Thompson said.

Four water-monitoring bores will be installed by council around the source of contamination.

Residents were asked not to use their bores for any reason, as it could draw the contaminated water further from the source, making it more difficult to contain.

The Peel River is unlikely to be contaminated, as the water table is “well below” the level of the river.

There will be a community meeting at Woolomin Hall tonight at 6.30pm, where residents can raise any concerns they have.

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