Residents see slow response on risky ponds
A rural Victorian community says the Government is not responding fast enough to concerns about arsenic in the water supply.
The community of Woodvale in central Victoria is home to ponds used to store rising groundwater from the nearby city of Bendigo.
But residents fear the water poses a health risk, with claims of elevated arsenic levels in the storage ponds.
Victoria’s environment department says it will talk with Woodvale landholders this week about potential water and soil testing to find any toxic material.
Bendigo District Environment Council spokesperson Simon Perrin says the community consultation cannot come too soon.
“This arsenic is sitting above [the] aquifer, in a flood plain in an area with population,” he told the ABC.
“The arsenic needs to be removed away from water and away from people and that needs to be the long-term plan and now that we've had contamination turning up in tanks, perhaps it's time that plan should be moved forward dramatically.
“It is a long-term health hazard and it just needs to be fixed.
"The most obvious way to fix it, and it won't be cheap, is to remove the arsenic away from people and water.”
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and says testing of soil and water at Woodvale has been planned, and it is still considering long-term options to deal with the groundwater.
“We're actually meeting with the Department of Health on Monday to go through our sampling program,” a government spokesperson said.
“We're then looking to meet with the members of the Woodvale community on Wednesday in order to just go through the program with them and to get their input as to whether there's any particular concerns that we need to consider.”