Department of Defence engages community on PFAS issue
The Department of Defence has begun working on a national review on its use of fire-fighting foams that contain chemicals known as per and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS).
This followed the identification of PFAS at Defence bases in New South Wales and Queensland where it is known to have migrated to groundwater and nearby water bodies.
The review also indicated that the Edinburgh Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base was among 16 sites across Australia that had been using fire-fighting foams containing PFAS before these substances were phased-out almost a decade ago.
The Department of Defence held two community sessions at Smithfield near its Edinburgh RAAF Base on 31 October and 1 November 2016 with approximately 40–50 people attending over the two days.
The sessions were held to provide local residents and business owners with an opportunity to discuss the environmental investigation into PFAS.
Following advice from the EPA, the Department of Defence has committed to meeting with local community farming groups and holding further meetings to update the community in early 2017.
The Department of Defence announced that a detailed environmental investigation at RAAF Base Edinburgh commenced in November to identify PFAS on, and in the vicinity of the base.