Seven years since the problem was definitively identified, residents of Pioneer are still drinking water containing lead and other metals.
After dangerous quantities of lead was identified in the water of several North-Eastern towns, TasWater built treated water plants servicing Ringarooma, Derby, Legerwood, Branxholm, Winneleah, and Herrick.
But in Pioneer, residents were issued with rainwater tanks. Recent testing showed the water in some of these tanks contained higher-than-recommended quantities of lead and other carcinogenic metals, due to the water running over lead-based roof paint on its way to the tanks. Speaking anonymously, a Pioneer resident said another problem with the tanks was that some residents had small roofs, so the water collected was not enough to meet their needs.
In a statement, a TasWater spokesperson said: "TasWater accepts the roll-out of the Service Replacement Program did not run as smoothly as expected and that mistakes were made. But we remain committed to taking all reasonable steps to ensure those who took part in the program have roof catchments capable of harvesting rainwater in a way that is safe to drink."
The Dorset Council is undertaking a survey of Pioneer residents, and if more than 80 per cent say they want treated water instead of tanks, TasWater says it will extend a water main to Pioneer.
If 21 per cent or more of the roughly 100 residents say they want to keep using tanks, the whole town will have to continue using tanks, with TasWater offering fixed amounts of money to replace roof paint.