TasWater said there is no risk to drinking water following research findings of high metal contamination in Highland lakes.
Concerns have been raised over the potential for metal contamination from sediments in Tasmanian lakes due to historic mining activity.
Researchers at the Australian National University found six lakes in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area are contaminated with dangerous levels of lead, copper, arsenic and cadmium.
Leader researcher Dr Larissa Schneider said the high levels of metal concentrations may be a cause for health concerns.
“Concentrations of contaminant increase as they travel up the food chain so this has implications for anyone who consumes fish from these areas,” Dr Schneider said.
TasWater said it has reviewed its data for the systems and catchments that include the lakes of concern and want to assure the community Tasmanian drinking water is safe.
Even if sediments found their way into raw water sources used by TasWater, treatment processes and water quality management regimes would ensure no contaminants would enter the water supply, TasWater said.
The researchers studied airborne contamination and found metal contaminants traveled 130 kilometres down-wind of historical mining sites at Queenstown and Rosebery.
“The big concern is that the legacy of these practices carried out from 1893 until 1994 are still having an impact on the environment today and no one is taking responsibility for it,” Dr Schneider said.
Premier Will Hodgman said there is a shared responsibility of government and mining agencies for remediation of mining affected areas.
“This is a long standing legacy issue of generational mining activity we know now was damaging the environment,” Mr Hodgman said.
“Governments at all levels have a role to play, as do mining companies who have an interest in those areas to do what they can.
“We always work closely with mining companies to remediate those areas and to make sure those mistakes from the past aren’t repeated.”
Mr Hodgman said when there are legacy environmental issues that go back generations that need to be addressed to ensure that they do not impinge on Tasmania’s natural brand values.
“We do have a very strong reputation and brand around our natural attributes and our environmental standards are important to preserve that,” Mr Hodgman said.
“We will continue to ensure that current practices are high class and that proper safeguards are in place to ensure that our environment is not damaged into the future.”