A future management plan for a site exposed to perfluorinated compounds near the Launceston Airport has not been provided to the Environment Protection Authority.
Low levels of the chemical compound, also known as PFAS, were found at the site, adjacent to the airport, in 2016 after soil and water testing was conducted.
PFAS compounds were used in firefighting foams by Air Services Australia until 2010, when concerns over exposure were first raised.
Air Services Australia is conducting its own investigation into the sites, which may have been contaminated by PFAS. The Launceston airport site is one of about 23 sites nationwide.
EPA Tasmania director Wes Ford said Air Services Australia had not provided them with an update on the potentially affected site.
“Airservices tested for traces of PFAS compounds in soil and water samples at a number of locations on properties adjoining the Launceston Airport in the vicinity of the firefighting training area,” Mr Ford said.
“The likely source of PFAS contamination was identified as the firefighting training area (due to historic use of firefighting foams) and this is located on the eastern boundary of the airport.”
The Launceston airport site is one of three sites in Tasmania that has “the greatest potential” for PFAS contamination risk, according to the review.
The other sites include the Tasmania Fire Service firefighter training ground at Cambridge and a site near the Hobart airport.
Tasmania’s firefireghter union has argued more needs to be done to improve assurances for firefighter safety when exposed to potentially toxic chemicals.
Tasmania Fire Service acting deputy chief Jeremy Smith said the TFS had developed a statewide PFAS management plan to address the possible impact of the chemicals at TFS sites.
“This includes a risk assessment process and workplace health and safety considerations,” he said.
In addition, an audit has been conducted for TFS training sites at Three Mile Line and Youngtown.
“The investigation into the possible impact of PFAS at these sites and a risk-based approach to the remediation of affected fire trucks is ongoing,” Mr Smith said.
“A solution for the remediation of affected fire trucks is not available in Tasmania, therefore the TFS is looking into options for this to be completed interstate.”