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Environment Protection Authority

EPA begins analysis of draft human health risk assessment report for Williamtown community

Media release: 18 July 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has received the draft Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) report from the Commonwealth Department of Defence and has provided a copy to the Williamtown Contamination Expert Panel for review and analysis.

The HHRA examines possible pathways for human health exposure to PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances) arising from contamination at the Williamtown RAAF Base. The report is designed to provide the information necessary for the EPA to review the precautionary restrictions and extent of the investigation area that have been in place since September 2015.

The HHRA will be reviewed in conjunction with the Stage 2B Environmental Site Assessment report prepared by Defence, which includes modelling to predict the movement of the PFAS chemicals.

Review of these reports by the EPA and the Expert Panel will include consideration of the research methodology, data points and calculations, the assumptions and conclusions. The EPA will provide technical comments back to Defence for consideration prior to the report’s finalisation.

The EPA anticipates that both Defence reports will be finalised and publicly released in the coming weeks. Subject to the findings of these reports, the existing advice on the precautions and the investigation area will be reviewed by the Expert Panel.

The EPA recognises that the communities surrounding RAAF Base Williamtown are seeking answers to a range of questions about the contamination and is working to ensure that these answers can be provided to the community as quickly as possible.

A dedicated mental health service is available for Williamtown community members on 0417 494 576 between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday, or 1800 011 511 after hours.

For more information about the NSW EPA's state-wide program, visit www.epa.nsw.gov.au/MediaInformation/pfcinvestigation.htm

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 20 July 2016