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Environment Protection Authority

PFC investigations are underway at Albion Park

Media release: 26 May 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) today confirmed that investigations for perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) contamination are underway at the Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) site in Albion Park. 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.

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

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

“The EPA understands that the Airport Road, Albion Park premises was used to train firefighters from the south coast regions for a period in the 1990s. 

“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 Shellharbour City 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