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Environment Protection Authority

UPDATE on Gold Coast PFAS investigation - Cobaki Broadwater results

Media release: 21 March 2017

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) welcomes the results from sampling in the Cobaki Broadwater which found no PFAS* detections in any seafood samples or in the majority of water and sediment samples taken south of Gold Coast Airport earlier this year.

The sampling program, which was conducted by Airservices Australia (Airservices) over one week in January, assessed PFAS concentrations in surface water, sediment and six edible seafood species in the Broadwater,

This work is part of the investigation into the PFAS contamination originating from Gold Coast Airport and follows work in mid-2016 which identified PFOS and PFOA in onsite water and soil samples.

EPA Executive Director Hazardous Incidents and Environmental Health Sarah Gardner said the latest test results indicate that seafood consumed from the Cobaki Broadwater is not an exposure pathway for local residents.

“These results indicate that the potential impacts to commercial and recreational fishing in the Cobaki Broadwater, are low,” Mrs Gardner said.

“However, the pending results of water and soil samples to the East of the airport and along Coolangatta Creek will help to establish the nature and extent of any PFAS contamination in the area.

“Ongoing monitoring by Airservices of the surface water, groundwater, sediments and soils around the site over the coming months will also help to complete the picture.”

The EPA does not regulate Gold Coast Airport but is committed to working with the site’s regulator, the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, and the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to ensure the protection of the environment and community is a priority.

Further information is available from Airservices Australia at www.airservicesaustralia.com/environment/firefightingfoam/ as well as the EPA at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/MediaInformation/pfasinvestigation.htm or the Environment Line on 131 555.

* 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.

-ENDS

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 21 March 2017