Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

UPDATE on Tamworth Regional Airport PFAS investigations

Media release: 9 December 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has reviewed preliminary site investigation results for PFAS* contamination at Tamworth Regional Airport and noted that although there are elevated levels onsite, the risk for potential exposure to the surrounding area appears low.

Further off-site investigations were recommended in order to confirm these results and the EPA is pleased to see that Tamworth Regional Council will commence more comprehensive sampling of soil, groundwater, surface water and drainage lines onsite, and offsite where required. Council is also undertaking a local water use survey to determine how residents use water sources on their property, including bore, dam and reticulated water. This will help to assess any potential exposure pathways. 

Tamworth Regional Council owns the site but did not conduct the historical activities that caused the contamination. The EPA is encouraged to see Council taking a proactive approach to the issue and notes that detailed investigations will help to provide meaningful results to the community about any contamination in their area. The EPA expects these results will become available in the coming months.

The EPA will continue to work collaboratively with Council to ensure an appropriate, scientific and risk-based approach is adopted throughout the investigations and in any subsequent clean-up of the site, to protect the environment and the community. The EPA and Council are working to ensure that the community receives information in a timely manner.

The NSW Government’s response to PFAS is being led by the EPA and we are undertaking an investigation program to assess the legacy of PFAS use across NSW. For more on the state-wide PFAS investigation program visit the EPA website.

* Per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (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.

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Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 09 December 2016