Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Gympie Residents Warned of Possible Contamination

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Gympie Residents Warned of Possible Contamination

Article excerpt

GYMPIE region home and property owners who have used the services of plumbing-electrical contractor Brett George Hogan have been warned their health could be at risk.

The Commissioner of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission issued the warning yesterday, under section 20J(1)(h) of the QBCC Act 1991, about a potential public health issue related to Mr Hogan's work with hot water systems.

QBCC Commissioner, Brett Bassett said a QBCC investigation had confirmed the use by Mr Hogan of a soft-lead solder product with a lead content above the amount allowed by Australian Standards.

The solder is frequently used in electrical work but is not appropriate for plumbing work due to the potential risk of contamination of the water supply.

A QBCC investigation of 28 Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast properties where Mr Hogan performed plumbing work has found eight properties where the non-compliant solder was used.

Mr Bassett said the QBCC was continuing to investigate jobs done by Mr Hogan, who has worked in Wide Bay, the Fraser and Sunshine coasts, Caboolture, Logan, Bundaberg, Gympie and the Moreton Bay region.

"The QBCC records show that Mr Hogan has undertaken 796 notifiable works for the replacement of hot water systems since 2012," Mr Bassett said.

"Yesterday I instructed my officers to contact each of the residents or owners of the 796 properties involved.

"The 796 properties may include commercial and industrial premises and may not necessarily be limited to homes or units."

The QBCC has contacted all relevant local government authorities regarding the issue.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer, Dr Sonya Bennett, said that while the risk of exposure was low, people with hot water systems where lead solder has or might have been used, should not consume hot water from the system or use hot water for cooking, and minimise ingestion when showering or bathing.

Lead can leach into drinking water in small amounts over time.

Dr Bennett said given our current understanding of the nature of the work undertaken, the amount of lead leached into the pipes was likely to be low. …

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