Hendon industrial area
Groundwater Prohibition Area
Chemicals from historical industrial and commercial activities that have contaminated the groundwater in portions of Hendon, Royal Park, Seaton and Albert Park include volatile petroleum and chlorinated hydrocarbons including trichloroethene (TCE), dichloroethene (DCE), and vinyl chloride (VC). Other chemicals include metals and nitrates identified from sites additionally investigated in the area.
The EPA has established a Groundwater Prohibition Area (GPA) on the extraction of bore water to ensure residents are protected now and well into the future.
Indoor air is considered to be safe from groundwater contamination entering homes as vapour. Contaminated groundwater can be an issue for rooms that are below ground. Mains water and water from rainwater tanks are not affected. Home grown fruit and vegetables are safe to consume, provided they are not watered with groundwater (bore water).
The EPA has been assessing groundwater and soil vapour in Hendon for historically used chemicals including trichloroethene (TCE), since September 2012. The purpose of these assessment programs was to help the EPA better understand the nature and extent of potential off-site contamination in the groundwater and soil vapour to the north, west and south of the Hendon industrial precinct. Works to the north of the industrial area are being managed by a third party which previously conducted activities that may have caused contamination in the area.
An EPA accredited site contamination auditor has been engaged by the third party to independently and objectively examine and review the accuracy and completeness of the assessment and to complete a site contamination audit report.
The EPA assessment works completed since 2012 have concluded that:
- A number of industrial chemicals are present in groundwater and soil vapour within the Hendon assessment area, including trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE).
- There is no health risk to occupants of residential properties that do not have a basement that is being lived in.
Residents and property owners in parts of Hendon/Albert Park/Seaton/Royal Park were first advised by the EPA in May 2012 not to use bore water (underground water) for any purpose until further notice to ensure that direct contact with contaminated groundwater does not occur.
- August 2019 | Groundwater Prohibition Area determination report
- May 2019 | Proposed GPA
- June 2017 | Report | Appendices (on request)
- April 2016 | Report | Appendices (on request)
- July 2015 | Report | Figures | Appendices
- June 2015 | Report | Tables & Figures | Appendices
- May 2015 | Vapour Monitoring Event at Laugh'n'Learn Child Care Centre
- April 2015 | Vapour Monitoring Event at Laugh'n'Learn Child Care Centre
- March 2015 | Report
- February 2015 | Report
- July 2014 | Report | Appendix A1, A2 | Appendix B | Appendices C, D | Appendices E, F | Appendix G | Appendix H | Appendix I to K | Appendix L
- October 2013 | Report | Appendices A to C | Appendix D | Appendices E to I
- March 2013 | Report | Appendices
EPA letters to residents
Frequently asked questions
How did the EPA become aware of the contamination in Hendon?
On 2 May 2012, the EPA received a report dated October 1992 from the current site owner of an industrial property in Hendon. The report provided historical information that identified the presence of perchloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE) and dichloroethene (DCE) in groundwater at offsite locations, outside the property boundaries.
The contamination is historical in nature and arose from the industrial use of TCE and PCE solvents and their subsequent disposal using practices seen as inappropriate by today’s standards. It is likely that the contamination was caused progressively from the use of these chemical substances over time for cleaning metal parts and plastics, as well as other activities undertaken in the vicinity of the industrial precinct. At this stage, the sources of the contamination has not been confirmed but we do know it originates from within the Hendon industrial area.
What are the chemicals of concern?
Trichloroethene (TCE) and perchloroethene (PCE) are common industrial solvents and were widely used as dry cleaning fluids, degreasers and metal cleaners. Dichloroethene (DCE) and vinyl chloride (VC) are generally present as the result of the degradation of TCE and PCE.
For more information on the contaminants, please visit the SA Health website.
The chemical substances found to be present in groundwater also have the potential to change from liquid to gas (volatilise) and move through pore spaces in the soil to the ground surface. It is then possible for the chemicals in gaseous form to further migrate and build up in confined spaces such as cellars, houses and basement carparks. The risk posed by these chemicals in commercial/industrial properties and homes would be through long-term exposure.
PCE, TCE and its breakdown products (DCE & VC) are liquid chlorinated hydrocarbon chemicals that readily flow and evaporate when released into the environment. These chemicals have entered the soil and dissolved into groundwater. They then start flowing with the groundwater, away from the source site. In the Hendon/Albert Park/Seaton/Royal Park area, the general groundwater flow direction is toward the ocean (west to northwest) at an estimated velocity of 3.5–12 m/year.
Can I use the bore water?
Groundwater (bore water) in this area is contaminated and should not be used for any purpose. Water from mains and rainwater tanks is not affected by this issue. Home-grown fruit and vegetables are safe to consume, provided they are not watered with bore water.
How can contamination affect health?
Exposures to these chemicals may occur in the general community, for example, vinyl chloride (VC) is found in tobacco smoke while TCE can be found in some household products such as correction fluid, paint or spot removers.
DCE exposure can result from the use of perfumes, lacquers and some plastics (eg thermoplastics). These types of exposures are referred to as background exposures. As exposures to chemicals occur from many sources in our everyday life, it is important that when there is a chance of exposure occurring that can be reduced or eliminated, action is taken.
It needs to be recognised that exposure to any one chemical often occurs from many sources to varying degrees and it is important to reduce total exposures to the lowest amount possible. This is to ensure that total exposure levels are below those that may produce effects on health.
For more information on contaminants, please visit SA Health website.