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Contaminated water system found at Perth Children’s Hospital

Tests have revealed high levels of lead in the water at the site of the new Perth Children’s Hospital, with construction workers warned not to drink the tap water. This is the latest in a string of safety-related incidents that have pushed back the hospital’s opening.

According to Health Minister John Day, high lead levels were detected in early August, however the cause is still yet to be confirmed.

Mike Nahan from the Department of Treasury (which is overseeing the construction of the hospital), has denied that there is any reason to be concerned about peoples’ safety.

“No one’s threatened. There are no children in it. It’s not a hospital; it’s a construction site,” he told the ABC.

While there are no children in the (yet-to-be-opened) hospital, there are approximately 30 plumbers who have been working onsite for over a year who have been drinking the contaminated water for an undeterminable amount of time.

According to WA Plumber’s Union secretary Brian Bintley, some of the workers knew about the contamination before it was officially announced, however they were bullied into staying quiet by the hospital’s building company, John Holland.

The building company states it has conducted numerous water quality tests and that the results were “inconsistent”. It has denied that the workers who drank water onsite are at risk. Bottled water is being provided to the workers while further tests are being carried out.

This safety scandal follows an incident earlier this year, in which construction workers were exposed to asbestos after drilling into roof panels which John Holland sourced from Chinese company Yuanda.

Prior to this, the hospital was found to have faulty water piping.

“I’ve never heard of a building project built in the modern times which has got asbestos and lead contamination problems,” said Opposition health spokesman Roger Cook to the ABC.

“The Barnett Government has to explain how they got this hospital project so wrong.”

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