2017 – Tamworth Regional Airport (New South Wales) – PFAS

Tamworth Regional Airport

Tamworth Regional Council is investigating potential per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination stemming from the historical use of fire-fighting foams at Tamworth Regional Airport.

Investigations have found PFAS on the Tamworth Regional Airport site. PFAS was also detected in soil, sediments, groundwater and surface water in some surrounding properties. The detection of PFAS is not unexpected given the past use of PFAS-containing fire-fighting foams at the site. PFAS has also been used in many domestic and industrial products and background levels may be present from these other sources.

Following a water use survey, residents of surrounding properties have been provided with tailored precautionary dietary advice to minimise their exposure to PFAS. This advice does not apply to the wider Tamworth community.

As part of the NSW Government’s response to PFAS contamination at various sites across the state, sampling of fish for PFAS has been completed in the Peel River, downstream from the Jewry Road Bridge at Tamworth.

Following the detection of low levels of PFAS in some species, the NSW Government is recommending that people who personally source and eat fish from this area, such as fishers and local residents, should limit the number of servings of individual species. Advice applies to fish caught from the whole of the waters of the Peel River and its tributaries downstream of Jewry St weir to the road crossing at Appleby Lane, including Wallamore Anabranch and Bolton’s Creek catchment. For more information, visit the NSW DPI website.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will continue to work collaboratively with Tamworth Regional Council to ensure timely and robust investigations are undertaken. The EPA and Tamworth Regional Council will keep the community informed of any developments.