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Residents in 25 Adelaide homes are being told to leave after the discovery of elevated levels of a potentially dangerous chemical in the air and soil.
Officials began door knocking the homes in Clovelly Park at 6pm on Wednesday (local time), a move Environment Minister Ian Hunter revealed to reporters less than two hours earlier.
Elevated levels of TCE, used as a metal cleaner in industrial settings, were found in soil and air tests.
The chemical can be carcinogenic when people are exposed to high levels over an extended period, but Mr Hunter said the amounts found were unlikely to cause health problems.
Most of the properties are Housing Trust and residents will be offered health checks.
The government had planned to advise residents on Thursday, but Opposition leader Steven Marshall raised the issue in question time on Wednesday.
In a later statement, Mr Marshall said the residents were only learning about the health risks they face due to groundwater contamination because of a government leak to the Liberals.
He said the government knew about the issue for six weeks and cabinet had agreed to an action plan on Monday.
"It is completely and utterly unacceptable that it took 52 hours for Labor to communicate a serious health issue with South Australians.
"How many other contamination issues is the Weatherill government hiding?"
Mr Hunter said the government would work with residents in the coming months to relocate them.