Williamtown RAAF Base is on bottled water after “strong smells” in water from firefighting hoses

WILLIAMTOWN RAAF Base was on bottled water on Tuesday after strong smells were detected in water fromthree fire hoses.


Staff including subcontractors working on the base were advised not to drink tap water until tests determined what was causing the odour.

The Department of Defence will issue a media release before noon but the Newcastle Herald has been advised there was a strong acetone smell about the water.

Hunter Water interim chief executive Jeremy Bath said the RAAF Base advised Hunter Water of the incident.

“They flushed the hoses and that removed the odour immediately. They took the precautionary step of advising people not to drink tap water until they knew what had caused the smell,” Mr Bath said.

There was “absolutely no threat of any sort of contamination –if it is found to exist on the base –of Hunter Water’s network”, he said.

Although there was public comment linking the water odour with the perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) water contamination scandal at the base, Mr Bath said PFOS had no odour.

“Defence does not for one minute believe it is PFOS,” he said.

Mr Bath said even if there is a contamination incident at a private property, including the RAAF Base, the network has backflow prevention devices to stop contamination from individual sites affecting the network.

A Defence spokeswoman confirmed a statement would be issued later on Wednesday.

Williamtown RAAF Base: It was bottled water on Tuesday at the Defence base after strong smells from three firefighting hoses led to water tests.