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Bullsbrook HAZMAT warning issued after water bombers drop sewage wastewater to put out bushfire

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Peta RasdienThe West Australian
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A HAZMAT warning has been issued for Bullsbrook residents after sewerage wastewater was used to put out a bushfire that threatened lives and homes on Wednesday.
Camera IconA HAZMAT warning has been issued for Bullsbrook residents after sewerage wastewater was used to put out a bushfire that threatened lives and homes on Wednesday. Credit: The West Australian

A HAZMAT warning has been issued for Bullsbrook residents after sewage wastewater was used to put out a bushfire that threatened lives and homes.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services said that effluent waste was used by helitankers to suppress the fire and protect Bullsbrook Community College and surrounding properties on Wednesday.

The department said that no buildings were directly targeted during bushfire suppression activities but properties in the area may have been impacted by some aircraft drift spray.

The Bullsbrook fire, which was first reported at about 11.35am and forced the evacuation of the college, reached an emergency level and burnt out about 9ha.

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A bushfire emergency warning was issued after the blaze broke out around 11.30am on Wednesday.
Camera IconA bushfire emergency warning was issued after the blaze broke out around 11.30am on Wednesday. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Amid the fire emergency, Helitaks drew water from sewage wastewater holding ponds.

“The Department of Defence has confirmed that these ponds are fed from reticulated water supply and do not have any PFAS chemicals present,” A DFES statement posted to social media read.

Residents in Doochary Street, Killybegs Street, Fintown Street, Balleybofey Loop between Donegal Entrance and Doochary Street, Ashton Road near the Kimberley Street intersection, the intersection of Chittering Street and Hurd Road, and Bullsbrook College in Bullsbrook are potentially affected.

HAZMAT warning area in Bullsbrook.
Camera IconHAZMAT warning area in Bullsbrook. Credit: Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Residents have been told to empty any water tanks for household use and hose down any structures or vehicles that could have been contaminated.

People who have vegetable gardens have been warned not to harvest any crops for the next 48 hours, after which time they should wash the produce carefully before eating.

Residents have also been advised to “maintain personal hygiene as a high priority” and steer clear of the fire-impacted areas where firefighters may still be patrolling.

DFES said that people in the impacted area did not need to be alarmed as the forecast high temperatures for Thursday (39C) and the following days would help neutralise any residual bacteria.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services says effluent waste was used by helitankers to suppress the fire. File photo.
Camera IconThe Department of Fire and Emergency Services says effluent waste was used by helitankers to suppress the fire. File photo. Credit: Jackson Flindell/ Jackson Flindell

Bullsbrook Community College will remain closed on Thursday as DFES works with WA Health, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation’s Pollution Response Unit and the City of Swan to mitigate the risk to the community.

People with medical concerns have been advised to contact their local doctor or call Health Direct on 1800 022 222.

For more information visit www.emergency.wa.gov.au.

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