Probe into tox­ins de­layed

Avon Valley Gazette - - NEWS - Jessica War­riner

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.

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