2018: Rutherford Industrial Estate (New South Wales) – PFAS

Rutherford Industrial Estate

https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/contaminated-land/pfas-investigation-program/pfas-investigation-sites/Truegain

62 Kyle St, Rutherford

Investigations into Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are ongoing within the Rutherford Industrial Estate. PFAS has found in varying levels and this is not unexpected given the historic use of PFAS in a variety of industrial operations.

The EPA undertook testing for PFAS in the Rutherford Industrial Estate, and in nearby creeks, after a containment system at the former Truegain premises overflowed into nearby Stony Creek in 2018. Additionally, other historical sources of PFAS have been identified as part of the EPA’s investigations. The results of this testing can be found in the tables below.

Residents living on properties bordering the creeks in Rutherford should follow the advice below to minimise their exposure to PFAS:

Stony Creek

  • Where chickens and livestock have been watered with or have access to creek water, AVOID consuming eggs, milk and home-slaughtered livestock.

Fishery Creek (downstream of the confluence with Stony Creek) and Wallis Creek (downstream of the confluence with Fishery Creek)

  • Where livestock have been watered with or have access to creek water, AVOID eating home-slaughtered livestock.

General advice

  • Where home produced eggs, milk and livestock have been watered using reticulated (town) water or rainwater, these are safe to consume.
  • Vegetables grown using creek water are safe to consume.

Background

The former Truegain premises, located within the Rutherford Industrial Estate, is a known source of PFAS for the creek system. Initial sampling was undertaken by the EPA after a containment system overflowed into Stony Creek following a heavy rain event in 2018. At that time, the EPA advised residents to avoid waterways downstream of the premises and to avoid drinking water from Stony Creek and Swamp Creek.

The Truegain premises was formerly a waste oil processing company. In February 2016, Hunter Water Corporation (HWC) suspended Truegain’s trade waste permit and physically disconnected the site from the HWC sewerage system due to PFAS found in high concentrations in the trade waste. As a result, the EPA suspended Truegain’s Environment Protection Licence and the company went into liquidation, with the site placed in care and nominal maintenance.

Work to ensure the former Truegain premises is safe for the community and the environment is continuing, with legal notices served on the owner to clean up the site. The owner has engaged a contractor with a mobile treatment plant licence that is treating the water to ensure the site is contained and made safe. The EPA will continue to work with both the former Truegain site owner and Maitland City Council to prevent potential future discharges in the creek system.

National Textile Mill operated within the Rutherford Industrial Estate in the past. PFAS containing chemicals were commonly used to treat fabrics. The current owner of the former textile site (Cleanaway) is voluntarily undertaking an investigation to establish the extent of any PFAS contamination sources.

The investigation is in addition to the sampling that has been undertaken by the EPA across the former textile precinct, as detailed in Table 2.

Sampling results

Table 1: EPA water sample results for Rutherford Industrial Estate and offsite creek investigations (as at 7 June 2018)

Sampling date Location Result
(PFOS/PFHxS)
(μg/L)
23 March2018 Gardner Street stormwater drain 0.60
  Stony Creek – Wollombi Road 0.12
5 April 2018 Gardner Street stormwater drain 1.02
  Stony Creek – rear of Heritage Parc Estate and Wollombi Road crossing 0.56
  Stony Creek – Wollombi Road 0.28
4 May 2018 Stony Creek – Sale Yards 0.01
  Stony Creek – downstream of the Sale Yards <LOR
  Sale Yards pond <LOR
  Stormwater drain – approximately 120m upstream, north of former Truegain premises 2.81
  New England Highway stormwater drain – downstream of Maitland airport 0.3
  New England Highway stormwater drain – downstream of Maitland airport 0.03
  Stormwater drain, New England Highway 0.06
  Heritage Parc Estate pond 0.02
  Gardner Street stormwater drain 0.98
  Dam above Stony Creek 0.11
  Stony Creek – Wollombi Road 0.37
  Stony Creek – Wollombi Road 0.38
  Stony Creek – Wollombi Road 0.31
7 June 2018 Stormwater pond–Mustang Drive 0.02
  Drainage channel–Spitfire Place <LOR
  Stormwater pond–Spitfire Place 0.04
  Stormwater drain, approximately 200m upstream, north-east of former Truegain premises 4.08
  Stormwater drain–Kyle Street 0.97
  Kyle Street premises 0.74
  Kyle Street premises 0.06
18 July 2018 Stony Creek – Wollombi Road 0.17
  Fishery Creek – Ryans Road 0.06
  Fishery Creek – Ryans Road 0.04
  Fishery Creek – Mount Dee Road 0.05
  Fishery Creek – Cessnock Road 0.04
  Wallis Creek – O’Connells Road/Louth Park Road 0.04
  Wallis Creek – Trappaud Road/Creek Bank Road 0.04
  Wallis Creek – Carrington Street 0.06
  Stormwater drain– approximately 120m upstream, north-east of former Truegain premises 0.09
  Stormwater drain– approximately 200m upstream, north of former Truegain premises 3.67
12 February 2019 Stormwater pond- Mustang Drive 0.05
  Stormwater drain, New England Highway 0.03
  Dam adjacent to Stony Creek 0.07
  Stony Creek – former golf course 0.79
  Stony Creek – former golf course 1.15
  Retention Dam – 500 m east of Gardiner Street <LOR
  Stony Creek – 100 m south of Truegain 0.7

 

Note 1: The health based guidance values for PFOS/PFHxS are 0.07μg/L for drinking water, and 0.7 μg/L for recreational water. as outlined in the PFAS National Environment Protection Measure (Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Note 2:  <LOR is below the laboratory limit of reporting.

Table 2: EPA soil sample results for Rutherford Industrial Estate (as at 5 March 2019)

Sampling date Location Result
(PFOS/PFHxS)
(mg/kg)
12 February 2019 Little Kyle Street – northern side 0.021
  Little Kyle Street – northern side 0.0038
  Little Kyle Street – northern side 0.006
  Little Kyle Street – southern side 0.0036
  Kyle Street 0.002
  Little Kyle Street – southern side 0.0038
  Little Kyle Street – southern side 0.0073
  Little Kyle Street – southern side <LOR
  Drainage Line adjacent to Cavalry Avenue 0.0048
  Former Anambah Landfill 0.0033

 

Note 1: The health based guidance values for PFOS/PFHxS is 20 mg/kg for industrial/commercial land use, and 1 mg/kg for public open space, as outlined in the PFAS National Environment Management Plan, January 2018.

Note 2: <LOR is below the laboratory limit of reporting.