Low risk in PFAS tests

Southern Telegraph - - News -

An en­vi­ron­men­tal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the lev­els of per- and poly-flu­o­roalkyl sub­stances (PFAS) on the Gar­den Is­land HMAS Stir­ling base has been com­pleted, with a man­age­ment plan be­ing de­vel­oped as part of an on­go­ing mon­i­tor­ing process for the site.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion was launched in 2016 af­ter the naval base tested pos­i­tive for toxic chem­i­cals his­tor­i­cally used in fire­fight­ing foam, be­com­ing part of a na­tional in­quiry into the man­age­ment of PFAS con­tam­i­na­tion in and around De­fence bases. Gar­den Is­land was one of 12 De­fence prop­er­ties across the coun­try tested to de­ter­mine whether PFAS was present on, or in the vicin­ity of, prop­er­ties.

A site in­ves­ti­ga­tion found there was a low ex­po­sure risk to peo­ple in the area be­cause the ground­wa­ter was not used for drink­ing, ir­ri­ga­tion or recre­ational pur­poses.

How­ever, although there were “very low” lev­els of PFAS iden­ti­fied, there was a low ex­po­sure risk to near-shore marine ecol­ogy through the sub­stance leach­ing through soils to the un­der­ly­ing ground­wa­ter.

An on­go­ing mon­i­tor­ing plan is be­ing un­der­taken to es­tab­lish trends in PFAS con­cen­tra­tions in ground­wa­ter, sur­face wa­ter, pore wa­ter and sed­i­ment in the area.

The plan will in­volve the on­go­ing col­lec­tion of sam­ples of ground­wa­ter, sur­face wa­ter and sed­i­ment from the area, as well as an an­nual re­port to iden­tify trends of the sub­stance. This year’s re­port is ex­pected to be re­leased by the end of the year.

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