The most recent investigation, which assessed chemicals within the soil, soil vapour, and indoor/outdoor air, did not identify levels in indoor/outdoor air that represent a risk to the occupants of the former Kelvinator sites.
The EPA was notified of site contamination in soil at a former Kelvinator Australia Limited industrial site at Keswick during site redevelopment in November 2013. This notification triggered further testing of groundwater and soil vapour within and around the industrial site. Testing works have progressed in stages and all of the reports documenting these works are on the EPA Public Register and are available on request to the EPA.
The testing work, commissioned by former site owner and refrigerator manufacturer, Kelvinator, in consultation with the EPA, sought to better understand the extent of contamination near its former Everard Avenue site.
In December 2014, Kelvinator letterbox dropped approximately 1,500 residential and commercial properties in the Keswick/Ashford/Forestville/Everard Park area. The letter informed the community that further investigations into groundwater and soil vapour contamination had commenced in the area.
These investigations followed on from an initial vapour assessment that Kelvinator undertook in March 2014. The soil vapour measurements report (May 2014) identified concentrations of the chemical solvent trichloroethene (TCE) in soil vapour adjacent to commercial properties. The concentrations of TCE in soil vapour indicated a need for further investigations which formed part of the scope of works that commenced in November 2014 to the west of Ashford Road. The soil vapour Investigations report (February 2015) documents this phase of testing and was followed in January 2016 by further groundwater and soil vapour investigation (April 2016).
Groundwater and soil vapour Investigation works were also undertaken on the southern side of Everard Avenue, Keswick, commencing in August 2015 with additional works undertaken in February 2016 for the testing of trichloroethene in ambient air.
The community has been advised by the EPA not to use groundwater from a bore within the area identified, for any purpose (including drinking, cooking, toilet flushing, bathing and irrigation) and until further notice. A letter was previously issued by the EPA in December 2013 to all property owners with a registered water bore, also advising them not to use groundwater. Kelvinator have reiterated this advice in their updates to the community.
The use of mains water and rain water is unaffected.
This advice followed the initial receipt by the EPA of a section 83(A) or mandatory notification of harm to groundwater in December 2013 from Tierra Environmental, a site contamination consultant engaged to prepare a groundwater monitoring report.
This report detailed the presence of groundwater contamination from chemical substances at concentrations in excess of Australian drinking water guideline values.
The chemicals identified include tetrachloromethane (carbon tetrachloride), trichloromethane (chloroform), trichloroethene (TCE), dichloroethene (DCE) and vinyl chloride (VC). These chemicals were historically used as part of industrial processes. It is suspected that these chemicals entered the groundwater through historical practices.
A site contamination consultant, has been engaged by Kelvinator to assess the extent of offsite contamination. This work is currently ongoing.
For further information on the use of groundwater and any contamination related enquiries in relation to this matter, please contact the EPA on 1800 729 175 during weekdays from 8 am to 6 pm or via email.