National News

Defence warns Qld residents off water

The Defence Department has told residents of a small Queensland town there are no health impacts from its leaked chemicals, but they should still not drink or use local water.

The department has presented its final investigation into the health and environmental impacts of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on residents surrounding the Army Aviation Centre in Oakey.

"There's no conclusive evidence of adverse human health impact from PFAS," Defence Department spokesman Chris Birrer told reporters Thursday.

Reports on the health and environment impact were initially issued in 2016, but had to be updated and released by AECOM this year due to data gaps.

Mr Birrer advised residents, who have the chemicals inside their bodies, to "minimise exposure" by not using bore water or groundwater, as well as not consuming fish caught from Oakey Creek.

But Oakey resident Jennifer Spencer said the department's assurances brought no relief.

"This is a never-ending source of stress. We don't know when it will end," Ms Spencer told AAP.

Ms Spencer, a racehorse trainer, bought a property in Oakey five years ago, only to find out later it was contaminated.

She is one of the hundreds seeking compensation in a class action against the department for emotional and financial stress.

"They are never going to clean it enough," Ms Spencer said.

"People are on their last legs. They can't sell their properties. What are you supposed to do?"

The department has promised to improve drainage at the army facility, has installed a water filtration plant, and is working with Toowoomba Regional Council to extend the water system.

© AAP 2017

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