2017/18 – Rio Tinto Australia Weipa (Queensland) – PFAS

2017/18: Rio Tinto Australia Weipa (PFAS)



RTA Weipa Pty Ltd operates a bauxite mine located in and around the township of Weipa… In addition, RTA Weipa is responsible for the administration of the town of Weipa through the Weipa Town Authority, which includes the management and supply of drinking water for the township.

During groundwater sampling of drinking water bores that supply the town of Weipa, conducted in October and November 2017, and June 2018, RTA Weipa Pty Ltd has reported the detection of Poly-fluoroalkyl and Per-fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in concentrations above the Limit of Reporting (LOR) in some bores, but less than the health-based guideline values for drinking water in all potable drinking water bores… During groundwater sampling of non-drinking water bores and surface waters conducted in November 2017, June 2018 and July 2018, RTA Weipa Pty Ltd reported the detection of PFAS in concentrations greater than the aquatic ecosystem and health-based guideline values for drinking water and recreational water.

RTA Weipa Pty Ltd report that a historical review of the use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) containing PFAS has been conducted for the Weipa township. RTA Weipa Pty Ltd report that AFFF has been previously used by RTA Weipa and a preliminary assessment indicates four main areas as possible sources of historical PFAS contamination, namely: East Weipa Heavy Equipment Workshop (EWHEQ), Weipa Airport, Weipa Fire and Rescue, and Andoom Heavy Equipment Workshop (AHEQ)….