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A Queensland plumber caught using lead solder on water pipes has put residents of hundreds of southeast Queensland properties at risk of lead poisoning.

Southeast Queenslanders who have had work done to their hot-water systems in the past five years are being urged to contact authorities.

It is believed Brett George Hogan, trading under his own name and the business Hot Water One, performed work on almost 800 properties from Hervey Bay to Logan between 2012 and 2016.

Hogan was fined $7000 in February and had his plumbing license suspended for 12 months following a complaint to the Queensland Building and Construction Commission last September.

The QBCC identified 796 properties that Mr Hogan had worked on across the Wide Bay, Gympie, Sunshine Coast, Logan and Moreton Bay regions.

QBCC commissioner Brett Bassett said 28 homes in the Hervey Bay area had been investigated, with eight of those found to have the lead solder used on their hot-water systems.

"The soft lead solder has a lead content that is above Australian standards," Mr Bassett said.

"Today, Queensland Health officials are seeking to take water samples from four of the eight properties where this product has been used."

Results on the samples are expected to be available on Friday.

Queensland Health says there is no immediate risk from lead but its effects are cumulative, meaning the longer people are exposed the worse their symptoms could be.

"Our understanding of the process is the chances of lead getting into those hot-water systems is low but not nil," acting chief health officer Dr Sonya Bennett said.

"Small levels of lead ingested over long periods of time can lead to toxicity, including symptoms like brain dysfunction, memory loss, abdominal pain, dizziness, muscle aches - so very non-specific symptoms."

The QBCC said it would make every effort to contact residents identified but people concerned about their properties should phone 139 333.

Mr Hogan is understood to be appealing his fine and suspension through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

 

By Stuart Layt
 
  • Soft soldered joints had been used for years in plumbing with no ramifications with Yorkshire copper fittings used on millions of houses through out Australia.
    Ever looked at your lead flashings on your roof which delivers' rain water to your water tank. Yes your metal corrugated iron water tank at the farm – soft soldered for over 50 years. Ever wondered were the galvanization of roofing iron ends up or the fact you are drinking tap water from an asbestos water main.
    Don't look to hard you might see the trees in the forest!

  • "Mr Hogan has been licensed in Queensland as a Restricted Water Plumber – Electrical licensee since December 2007 but had his licence suspended in February 2017."
    ( Taken from another news source )

    From what I can gather, he is using electricians solder – so from assumptions, he is an electrician who has gained a 'Restricted Water Plumber licence.

    And as for his fine – less than $10.00 per job.

    What will it cost to contact all his customers and have someone inspect all his work?
    Could not see the total cost being less than $250.00 per inspection.

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