PFAS and Esperance Town Water Supply Scheme

We have tested groundwater bores and sample points in the drinking water supply scheme in Esperance for per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as part of a new targeted statewide monitoring program.

The full results of this monitoring are available in the table below.

What the results tell us

The sample results show PFAS has been detected at very low levels in the water supply scheme.

The levels detected were all below the Australian Drinking Water Guideline (ADWG) health values.

The Esperance community is reassured its water supply is safe for use.

The Esperance Town Water Supply Scheme – how it works

There are two water treatment plants that service Esperance and these are located on Thompson Street, Sinclair and Paine Road, Nulsen.

There are 25 bores located in three separate borefields that supply water to the Thompsons Street Water Treatment Plant where it undergoes treatment.

The Paine Road Water Treatment Plant is supplied with water from 6 bores located in a single borefield which is operated during the summer to meet peak water demand.

Our response to the results

One bore (Hammersley Street Bore 2) that is connected to the Paine Road Water Treatment Plant was switched off in early March after the first set of monitoring results were received as this had a PFAS level close to the ADWG value. This bore will remain switched off.

While there is no risk to health associated with the results, we will undertake further testing to monitor PFAS levels in the Esperance Water Supply Scheme. We will continue to work with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation and Department of Health on this issue.

Licensed and garden bore water users

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation is the agency responsible for managing bore water use in Western Australia. For bore water testing contact the Department of Water and Environment Regulation on 1300 762 982.

PFAS - background

Per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of over 4000 man-made substances that have been used in industrial and consumer products since the 1950s.

As a result of widespread use, PFAS have been found to be present in low levels in soils, surface water and groundwater in most urban areas around the world, including in Western Australia.

In August 2018, the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) were amended to incorporate two PFAS health-based guideline values. These are 0.07 micrograms per litre (PFOS and PFHxS) and 0.56 micrograms per litre (PFOA).

Department of Health advice

Healthy WA - Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Department of Health - Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances

State Government statement

WA Government Statement on Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation advice

PFAS Investigations in Western Australia


For all health related enquiries associated with PFAS please call Department of Health on Environmental Health Directorate on (08) 9222 6409

For all other water supply enquiries please contact Water Corporation on 13 13 85.

Sample results

Sampling location Date sample taken Result (µg/L)
PFOS/PFHxS (ADWG health 0.07 ug/L)  PFOA (ADWG health 0.56 ug/L)
Water Treatment Plant 1 - (Paine Road) 5/02/2019 0.021 0.001
  18/02/2019 0.007 <0.001
  21/03/2019 0.002 <0.001
  10/04/2019 0.002 <0.001
Hammersley Street Bore 2 18/02/2019 0.062 0.003
  21/03/2019 0.087 <0.001
  10/04/2019 0.13  0.005 
Bore 3 18/02/2019 0.004 0.001
  21/03/2019  0.003  <0.001 
  10/04/2019  0.003  <0.001 
Bore 4  18/02/2019  <0.002  <0.001 
  21/03/2019   <0.002  <0.001 
  10/04/2019  <0.002  <0.001 
 Bore 6 18/02/2019  0.003 0.001
  21/03/2019 0.002  <0.001
  10/04/2019  0.002  <0.001 
Bore 12  18/02/2019  <0.002 <0.001
  21/03/2019  <0.002  <0.001 
  10/04/2019  <0.002  <0.001 
Bore 15    18/02/2019 0.002  <0.001
  21/03/2019  <0.002 <0.001 
  10/04/2019  0.002  <0.001 
Water Treatment Plant 2  (Thompson Street) 10/04/2019 <0.002  <0.001 
Reticulation 1 10/04/2019 <0.002  <0.001
Reticulation 2  10/04/2019 0.002  <0.001 
Reticulation 3 10/04/2019 <0.002 <0.001 
Reticulation 4  10/04/2019  <0.002  <0.001