Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

UPDATE on fire-fighting training site PFAS investigations

Media release: 22 November 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has reviewed Fire and Rescue NSW’s (FRNSW) plans for further PFAS* investigations at five fire-fighting training facilities across NSW, in Armidale, Albion Park, Deniliquin, Greenacre and Alexandria.

The EPA welcomes the detailed site investigations, which will include comprehensive sampling of soil, groundwater, surface water and drainage lines onsite, and offsite where required. FRNSW has also scoped a Human Health Risk Assessment and Ecological Risk Assessment for each site, if results indicate more conclusive works around exposure pathways and environmental receptors are required.

The EPA is encouraged to see that FRNSW is taking a proactive approach to the issue and notes that detailed investigations will help to provide meaningful results to communities about any contamination in their area.

Preliminary sampling conducted by the EPA at Armidale, Albion Park and Deniliquin earlier this year showed PFAS levels onsite and indicated that further detailed investigations were required.

The EPA will continue to work collaboratively with FRNSW to ensure an appropriate, scientific and risk-based resolution is adopted throughout the investigations to protect the environment and the community, and to ensure that the community receives information in a timely manner 

The EPA is leading the NSW Government response to PFAS and is undertaking an investigation program to assess the legacy of PFAS use across NSW. For more on the state-wide PAFS investigation program, see www.epa.nsw.gov.au/MediaInformation/pfasinvestigation.htm


Background:
* PFAS are a group of chemicals that include perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS). As they have heat, water and stain repelling properties, PFAS 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.

 

Contact: Public Affairs

Page last updated: 22 November 2016