2017 – Richmond RAAF Base (New South Wales) – PFAS

Richmond RAAF Base


The Department of Defence has undertaken detailed investigations into PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) contamination stemming from the historical use of fire-fighting foams at RAAF Base Richmond.

These investigations have included an Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) and Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) to assess potential risks to human health and the environment. This included sampling of surface water, groundwater, sediment, soil and produce both on and off the Base, as well as fish from the Hawkesbury River. The ERA and HHRA have helped to Identify and understand the pathways through which people can be exposed to these chemicals, such as drinking water.

The results have identified that in certain areas, there is the potential for people to be exposed to PFAS through the consumption of home grown produce which was grown in contaminated soils, or where contaminated groundwater or surface water is being used.

The NSW PFAS Taskforce has analysed the results from the Hawkesbury fish sampling and has determined that the community does not need to take additional precautions to reduce their exposure to PFAS.

The EPA has requested that additional work be undertaken for the investigation and will provide further information as it becomes available.

Although the NSW Government does not regulate Defence sites, they have agreed to conduct investigations in a manner that is consistent with the EPA’s requirements.

The NSW Government is committed to working closely with all relevant government agencies, to closely monitor the progress of the investigation, and to keep the community informed. Agencies include the Department of Defence, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), NSW Health, and NSW Food Authority.