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Environment Protection Authority

PFC investigation in Wellington wraps up

Media release: 26 May 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) today confirmed that the perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) levels identified in soil and water samples at the Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) site in Wellington do not warrant further investigation.

Preliminary investigations at Wellington followed the EPA's announcement earlier this year, of a state-wide investigation program into the extent of PFC use and possible presence in the local environment.

NSW EPA Manager Hazardous Incidents, Andrew Mitchell, said preliminary sampling undertaken at the Wellington site showed trace levels of PFCs in soil at levels below the investigation program’s assessment criteria. 

“PFCs are already commonly found in the environment at low levels due to their wide-spread use in consumer and speciality products over many decades,” Mr Mitchell said.

“On the basis of the very low concentrations of PFCs in soil samples obtained from the Wellington site, the NSW EPA considers that the Wellington FRNSW Firefighting Training Site is not a priority for further investigation into PFC contamination.

“The EPA will continue its proactive investigation into the presence and extent of PFC contamination at further sites around NSW.”

PFCs are a group of chemicals that include perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). As these have water, grease and oil repelling properties, PFCs 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.

For more information about the state-wide investigation program and/or PFCs, visit www.epa.nsw.gov.au/MediaInformation/pfcinvestigation.htm or call the Environment Line on 131 555.  

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 26 May 2016