Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

PFAS investigations underway at Botany Industrial Park

Media release: 20 February 2017

Testing is underway at Botany Industrial Park (BIP) as part of the state-wide PFAS* investigation program being led by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Preliminary sampling undertaken by BIP companies in late 2016 showed the presence of PFAS in some of the groundwater, surface water and sediment samples taken on and offsite. This is not unexpected given the past use of PFAS-containing fire-fighting foams for onsite fire-fighting training, as well as the range of industrial operations in the area.

EPA Executive Director Hazardous Incidents and Environmental Health Sarah Gardner said the presence of PFAS in the environment does not necessarily mean there is a health risk.

“A core component of testing is assessing if there are any pathways through which people might be exposed to PFAS,” Mrs Gardner said.

“The EPA is working with BIP companies to determine the scope of further investigations, including whether there are any exposure pathways.

“We note that PFAS has been detected onsite, however contaminated groundwater is already being actively managed through contamination controls in place as part of the Orica Groundwater Clean-up Project. We will work with Botany Industrial Park to confirm that these controls are appropriate for the management of PFAS.

“The offsite contamination has been found in exclusion areas including the Groundwater Extraction Exclusion Area, where there has been a ban on use of groundwater for domestic purposes for many years, and Penrhyn Estuary, where fishing bans are in place.

“In order to rule out further exposure pathways, Department of Primary Industries Fisheries will coordinate seafood testing around Botany to determine the extent of PFAS in the surrounding waterways, and identify potential exposure for the local recreational fishing community.

“Providing information and advice to the community is our priority and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure these investigations progress in a timely manner.”

More information on PFAS is available at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/MediaInformation/pfas investigation.htm or by calling the NSW Environment Line on 131 555.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 21 February 2017