Mount Wallace residents near the Moorabool South wind farm project are worried dust thrown up from construction work has contaminated their drinking supply with potentially dangerous chemicals.
Since construction began about 12 months ago, “miles” of access roads and powerline connections have been finished, and work on the foundations for the turbines is about to begin.
Janene Skidmore lives about a kilometre from the closest turbine, and said in that time, she has noticed the dust from the huge volume of truck traffic getting worse because of the dry conditions.
This dust has found its way to her water tanks.
“When they started digging, the dust came thick and fast,” she said.
The company building the wind farm, Goldwind Australia, agreed to install a water filter, but she was surprised to find that within a month, the filter was coated in green slime.
This was a problem affecting her neighbours, some of whom she said had signed agreements with the company – she has not, she added.
Since discovering the algae, she has been asking Goldwind to monitor the contamination and replace components in the filter.
“We’ve had them for five weeks and they’re already stuffed up,” she said.
The company has also supplied Neverfail water fountains to ensure a supply of reliable and clean drinking water.
However, as Ms Skidmore and her neighbours are downstream of the Fiskville CFA training facility, she is worried the dust may be carrying PFAS particles to her drinking water, and has requested samples be tested by Moorabool Shire Council’s health officers.
PFAS, or per- or polyfluroalkyl substances, are used in a range of plastic household objects, but were also used in firefighting foam for decades.
The Environment Protection Authority Victoria has stated there is no consistent evidence that the chemical causes harm in humans, but there are worries that it could bioaccumulate in wildlife.
The contamination at Fiskville, and other locations across the state, is well known, but Ms Skidmore’s neighbour Eddie Cassar said Goldwind had not completed any testing for the substance before beginning work.
Mr Cassar said he grew more concerned after finding filthy water in his rain gauge after a downpour last year.
“I couldn’t oil my decking because it was so dusty,” he said.
A Moorabool Shire Council spokesperson confirmed it was investigating the residents’ concerns.
“Council is working with the residents and the wind farm to ascertain the veracity of these concerns,” they said.
“The results from the testing will determine if any further action is warranted.”
A Central Highlands Water spokesperson confirmed its independent testing laboratory had received samples, and the result is expected this week.
Goldwind was contacted for comment on Thursday.
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