Probe into toxins delayed
THE investigation into potential contamination at Perth Airport is still facing delays.
The airport is currently being assessed for toxic chemicals found in old firefighting foam, the same that rendered farmland unusable around the RAAF Williamstown base in NSW after chemicals leeched into groundwater.
The chemicals in question are perfluorooactane sulfonate ( PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid ( PFOA), both per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances referred to as ‘ PFAS’.
The government- owned organisation Airservices Australia phased out the chemicals in the late 2000s, but management of the issue is ongoing.
When Airservices Australia was contacted in April, the organisation said a range of factors including weather and laboratory availability meant an exact date couldn’t be provided on the finalisation of the contamination report.
Senator Rachel Siewert raised concerns at the time over the lack of deadline, and said the report had already been delayed from December 2016 to the first quarter of 2017.
When contacted recently, an Airservices spokeswoman said the organisation has been briefing Commonwealth and Western Australian agencies on investigations since a site examination of the airport’s Fire Training Ground in 2008 found PFAS.
The spokeswoman said in 2016, Airservices began an Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Preliminary Site Investigation, and a desktop site investigation was provided to Perth Airport and the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, the airport regulator.
The spokeswoman said limited sampling was conducted as part of this investigation, and Airservices was now waiting for results.
The report’s release had been delayed due to the complexity of the issue, she said.