Concerns About Lead In Drinking Water

Issued by: Professor Charles Guest, Chief Health Officer, Victoria

Issued to: Health professionals, consumers

 Key messages

  • In March, the City of Greater Geelong tested a random sample of its public drinking fountains following an alert from Barwon Water regarding the level of lead in water from two fountains in the municipality. These test results found levels of lead and some other metals in some fountains above the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG).
  • In response, the City of Greater Geelong commenced a process of testing its more than 140 public drinking fountains across the municipality.
  • As a precaution, the City of Greater Geelong is switching off the public drinking fountains found with levels of lead higher than the ADWG.
  • DHHS supports this precautionary approach while we work together to investigate the source of the lead. Current evidence indicates that the issue may be related to plumbing materials associated with the drinking fountains. However, media relating to this issue may cause increases in patients presenting with concerns about lead.
  • People do not need to be worried if they have consumed water from the affected drinking fountains. While the levels of lead detected are above the health guideline value in the ADWG, they are not of immediate concern, as drinking water fountains are not the main source of daily drinking water.
  • This is not an issue affecting Barwon Water’s drinking water supply system and the drinking water supplied by Barwon Water remains safe to drink.

 Read the full alert: Concerns about lead in drinking water

Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne.