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Environment Protection Authority

PFAS investigations underway at Botany Bay

Media release: 22 May 2017

Testing is underway at Botany Bay as part of the state-wide PFAS* investigation program the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) said today. This follows sampling at both Sydney Airport and Botany Industrial Park (BIP), which showed PFAS detections on and offsite.

DPI Fisheries will be out in the area this week, coordinating seafood sampling around Botany Bay to determine the extent of PFAS in the surrounding waterways, and identify potential exposure for the local recreational fishing community.

EPA Director Hazardous Incidents and Environmental Health Sarah Gardner said the presence of PFAS is not unexpected given the past use of PFAS-containing fire-fighting foams for onsite training at Sydney Airport and BIP, as well as the range of other industrial operations in the Botany area.

“The number of potential sources of PFAS in the area makes it difficult to attribute detections in Botany Bay to individual sources,” Mrs Gardner said. 

“However, preliminary sampling undertaken by Airservices Australia indicates that historical use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam has led to detections in surface and groundwater within the airport precinct, and in some limited sampling of fish and sediments. 

“Sampling by BIP companies has also shown the presence of PFAS in some of the groundwater, surface water and sediment samples taken on and offsite.

 “The EPA is now working with these stakeholders as well as NSW Health, NSW Department of Primary Industries, and NSW Food Authority, to determine the scope of further investigations on and offsite, including whether there are any exposure pathways through which people might be exposed to PFAS.

“We will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure these investigations progress in a timely manner, and that the community is aware of any developments as a priority, noting that there is no commercial fishing in the area.”

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: 22 May 2017