Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

PFAS investigations underway at Caltex Kurnell

Media release: 29 June 2017

Testing is underway at the Caltex Kurnell terminal, as part of the state-wide PFAS* investigation program being led by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

Preliminary sampling undertaken by Caltex in 2016 and early 2017 at the Kurnell site showed the presence of PFAS in some groundwater and surface water samples taken onsite, as well as in surface waters offsite.

EPA Executive Director Hazardous Incidents and Environmental Health Sarah Gardner said contamination in the environment is often found where PFAS containing fire-fighting foams have been used for training.

“Importantly, there is no consistent evidence of any human health effects related to PFAS exposure,” Mrs Gardner said.

“We also know that residents are connected to town water, which decreases the likelihood of contact with the chemicals.

“The NSW Government is taking a precautionary approach and the EPA is working with Caltex to determine if there are any pathways through which people might come into contact with PFAS.

“Caltex has a robust program of further investigation works underway, to determine any potential pathways. Caltex is also developing ongoing management options for PFAS contamination.

“The EPA will continue to work collaboratively with Caltex, NSW Agencies and Sutherland Shire Council to ensure an appropriate, scientific and risk-based approach is adopted throughout the investigation, and that the community receives information 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.

* 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.

Contact: EPA Public Affairs

Page last updated: 29 June 2017