Bathurst Airport – PFAS Investigation
Bathurst Regional Council is continuing to work closely with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) following testing that indicated the presence presence of per- and poly- fluoralkyl substances (PFAS) in some soil and water on Council land at Bathurst Airport.
Preliminary sampling conducted by Bathurst Regional Council in 2017 found elevated levels of PFAS at Bathurst Regional Airport. PFAS was introduced to the site due to the historical use of fire-fighting foams containing PFAS. As such, Council has been undertaking an investigation to understand the extent of PFAS on and off site.
This investigation in 2018 included sampling surface water, groundwater, soil, and sediment where surface water flows from the airport. A water-use survey of nearby residents was also undertaken, to help determine how water in the area was being utilised. The results of the investigation determined that:
- PFAS were not detected above the relevant land use criteria in any soil or groundwater samples collected from offsite locations.
- PFAS were present above the recreational and drinking water guidelines in some surface water samples collected from the surface water drainage channel leading north of the site, both onsite and offsite.
- PFAS were present above commercial industrial guidelines in some soil samples collected from onsite at the airport.
The detection of PFAS is not unexpected given the past use of PFAS-containing fire-fighting foams at the site. PFAS have also been used in many domestic and industrial products which may lead to the presence of background concentrations at the site.
A select number of properties downstream of the airport have been provided with tailored precautionary dietary advice, to help minimise their exposure to PFAS. This advice is specific to those properties and does not apply to the wider Bathurst community.
Bathurst Regional Council will continue to conduct investigations at the airport to inform future management options at the site which will reduce the potential impact to the community.
To read the media release issued by Bathurst Regional Council click here
For more information on PFAS http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/working-together/community-engagement/pfas-investigation-program
A factsheet providing more information on PFAS and human health is available from the Commonwealth Department of Human Health website at www.health.gov.au
The findings of an Expert Panel for PFAS established by the Australian Government on the potential health impacts associated with PFAS exposure and to identify priority areas for further research can be read here:
Following a water use survey, residents of surrounding properties were provided with tailored precautionary dietary advice to minimise their exposure to PFAS. This advice is specific to those properties and does not apply to the wider Bathurst community.
Bathurst Regional Council is conducting further testing to determine whether there are any potential impacts for the local community.