Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Independent review confirms precautionary Williamtown advice

Media release: 9 September 2016

The NSW Government’s dietary, health and behavioural precautionary advice remains in place for residents in the Williamtown Investigation Area, following the finalisation of the Federal Government commissioned independent review into national exposure interim guidelines for per- and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS).

The review found that adoption of European human health reference standards (toxicity levels) for PFAS in drinking and recreational water was “appropriate and is protective of public health”. 

While the review of the national guidelines has confirmed the NSW Government’s precautionary advice to the community, further data is needed to give more certainty about home grown produce and incidental consumption of ground and surface water. This includes whether some precautions can be relaxed or lifted over time.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has urged the Department of Defence to urgently pursue and implement solutions to minimise discharges of PFAS contaminants from the RAAF Base. Defence must also address the data limitations previously identified in its Human Health Risk and Environmental Site Assessment reports.

NSW EPA Director North Branch, Mr Adam Gilligan, encouraged the community to approach the Community Reference Group with any questions or concerns about the investigation.

“The EPA understands that the Williamtown community wants answers and action, particularly in relation to contamination coming off the Base. We are committed to helping to get those answers,” Mr Gilligan said.

Advice around fishing will be determined as NSW DPI Fisheries continues its consultation with industry about options for commercial and recreational fishing in the Fullerton Cove and the upper Tilligerry Creek areas.

  • Community members experiencing anxiety or concern should call the support line on 0417 494 576 from 8am - 4pm Monday to Friday or 1800 011 511 after hours.
  • For more information about PFAS contamination in Williamtown, or to direct a question to the EPA, visit www.epa.nsw.gov.au/MediaInformation/williamtown.htm

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 12 September 2016