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Environment Protection Authority

PFC investigations are underway in Deniliquin

Media release: 26 May 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) today confirmed that further investigations for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) will be undertaken at the Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) site in Deniliquin. This follows 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.

Preliminary sampling undertaken at the FRNSW site earlier this year showed the presence of PFCs in both soil and water, at low levels.

NSW EPA Manager Hazardous Incidents, Andrew Mitchell, said the discovery of PFCs at the FRNSW site was not unexpected due to past use of PFC containing firefighting foams.

“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.

“The EPA understands that the Deniliquin premises was used as a fire training site from the mid-1990s and that training occurred relatively infrequently at the site.

“The investigation is part of the EPA’s precautionary approach to determining the nature, extent and location of PFCs on and around the site. 

“The investigation is an important step towards identifying and managing PFCs in the environment, as the environmental and health impacts of these emerging contaminants are not yet fully known.

“The EPA is now working with FRNSW and Edward River Council to discuss the next steps and keep the local community informed of the investigation’s progress.”

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