Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

PFAS investigations underway at Singleton Heights and Argenton Mines Rescue stations

Media release: 9 August 2017

Further testing is underway at the Mines Rescue stations in Singleton Heights and Argenton as part of the state-wide PFAS* investigation program being led by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Preliminary sampling undertaken by Mines Rescue show the presence of PFAS in some soil and sediment samples taken on and offsite.

EPA Executive Director Hazardous Incidents and Environmental Health Sarah Gardner said readings of PFAS are often found in the environment where fire-fighting foams containing the chemical have been used in the past for training.

“It’s important to note that there is no consistent evidence of any human health effects related to PFAS exposure,” Mrs Gardner said

“However, because the NSW Government is taking a precautionary approach, we need to determine if there are any pathways from the Singleton and Argenton stations that mean people might come in contact with PFAS.

 “Residents around the stations are connected to town water so this decreases the likelihood of exposure however, further testing will help us to determine all the potential pathways.
 
“We will continue to work collaboratively with Mines Rescue, as well as Singleton and Lake Macquarie City Council to ensure an appropriate, scientific and risk-based approach is adopted throughout the investigation, and that the community receives information in a timely manner.”

More information on PFAS is available at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/MediaInformation/pfasinvestigation.htm or by calling the NSW Environment Line on 131 555.


* Per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals that include perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS). As they have heat, water and stain repelling properties, PFAS have been widely used in a range of industrial and consumer products both in Australia and internationally, including in fire retardants, water proofing, food preparation, food packaging, furnishings, clothing and recreational equipment.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 09 August 2017