An investigation into levels of perfluorinated compounds at Hobart Airport has found low levels of risk to the public.
The report was released by Air Services Australia on Friday, October 19, after an investigation.
“The PSI concluded that while historical PFAS contamination was found at the airport, the risk to residents on adjacent land and airport workers is low,” an Air Services Australia spokesperson said.
“TasWater has advised that it does not have any drinking water catchments near Hobart Airport and water from its reticulated system remains safe to drink.”
PFAS was used in firefighting foam used at sites across the country until 2010.
The chemicals were found to have caused a cancer cluster in the US, uncovered by an international Fairfax Media investigation.
The Hobart and Launceston airports were identified by Air Services Australia to have potential PFAS contamination.
Site testing was conduced in Hobart and Launceston in 2016 that detected “low levels” of PFAS in the soil.
However, recent testing has not uncovered any PFAS contamination.
“Targeted sampling at Five Mile Beach did not detect any PFAS in the wild oysters and indicated a low risk to recreational users such as swimmers.”
Air Services Australia said while the test results indicated low risk to the community surrounding the airport, it would continue to work with the airport and relevant agencies to determine the next steps.
The Environment Protection Authority has welcomed the release of Airservices Australia’s preliminary site investigation.
Acting EPA director Martin Read said it was a preliminary investigation, focusing on PFAS in the drainage from the airport (in and immediately beyond Sinclair Creek), and that work would be ongoing.
“We recognise that PFAS have caused concern in communities around Australia and the world in recent years,” Dr Read said.
“That is why we have been working with Air Services Australia as part of their investigations and collaborating with the Tasmanian Department of Health to ensure we can provide information to communities at sites where these chemicals may be present and ensure these sites are managed appropriately.”
A management plan for the Launceston airport is expected soon to follow the release of Hobart.
While you're with us, did you know that you can now sign up to receive breaking news updates and daily headlines direct to your inbox. Sign up here.