Toxic soil stand­off

The Advocate (Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Brookes

THERE are calls for the Fed­eral Govern­ment to store and use soil from the $2 bil­lion For­rest­field-Air­port Link site, which is con­tam­i­nated with toxic fire­fight­ing foams, for Perth Air­port’s third run­way project.

About 900,000 cu­bic me­tres of ex­ca­vated soil from the 8km rail­way tun­nel link­ing Perth Air­port and For­rest­field will be tem­po­rar­ily stock­piled on a foothills in­dus­trial site un­til the Pub­lic Trans­port Au­thor­ity can find a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion.

PTA spokesman David Hynes said low lev­els of per- and poly-flu­o­roalkyl sub­stances (PFAS) were de­tected dur­ing rou­tine soil test­ing in 2015.

“At present, op­tions to dis­pose of soil that con­tains PFAS, ir­re­spec­tive of the lev­els, are lim­ited,” he said.

“The PTA has been work­ing with Perth Air­port with a view to them tak­ing the bulk of the soil for fill for its pro­posed third run­way and other de­vel­op­ments. To date, the Com­mon­wealth Govern­ment has not agreed to the trans­fer of the soil, in­clud­ing that ex­ca­vated from un­der air­port land, to the air­port site for stor­age and later use.”

Airser­vices Aus­tralia, the Fed­eral Govern­ment-owned cor­po­ra­tion re­spon­si­ble for fire­fight­ing at air­ports, said in­vest-iga­tions to date had not con­firmed any link be­tween PFAS con­tam­i­na­tion at the For­rest­field-Air­port Link site and the foam used at the air­port.

“In 2016, Airser­vices com­menced a pre­lim­i­nary site in­ves­ti­ga­tion to iden­tify po­ten­tial legacy sources on the air­port,” a spokesman said.

“Airser­vices has un­der­taken targeted sam­pling on the air­port and the fi­nal re­port with re­sults is sched­uled to be com­pleted by the end of this year.

“The re­sults will be shared with Perth Air­port and Com­mon­wealth and WA reg­u­la­tors to de­ter­mine ap­pro­pri­ate next steps.”

The City of Kala­munda said it was briefed on the con­tam­i­na­tion prior to ap­prov­ing the de­vel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tion in July to tem­po­rar­ily store the soil on PTA-owned land in For­rest­field.

“The City must be no­ti­fied if lev­els of PFAS within the soil are found to ex­ceed thresh­old lim­its,” a City spokes­woman said.

“The soil is be­ing stored in ac­cor­dance with cur­rent en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment prac­tices and a suite of project-spe­cific en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment plans.”

Mr Hynes said he hoped the PFAS Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Plan be­ing de­vel­oped by the Na­tional Chem­i­cals Work­ing Group of the Heads of EPAs Aus­tralia and New Zealand would pro­vide guid­ance on the re­use of soil con­tain­ing mi­nor con­cen­tra­tions of PFAS.

A Perth Air­port spokesman called on the Depart­ment of In­fra­struc­ture and Regional De­vel­op­ment to speed up de­vel­op­mentent of reg­u­la­tions to man­age and ul­ti­mately re­me­di­ate PFAS con­tam­i­na­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.