PFAS investigation starts at Gingin airfield

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The Department of Defence environmental investigation into the use of firefighting foams at Gingin airbase will include the testing of nearby bores for the toxic chemicals. File picture

CONCERN about toxic firefighting foams used at Gingin airfield means an environmental investigation will start there this month.

On Wednesday, October 4 the Department of Defence announced a detailed investigation into per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at and around the airfield.

The department said the need for the investigation had been identified through its ongoing review of the historical use of legacy firefighting foam across defence bases.

The department is already carrying out an environmental investigation at Pearce air base.

This has involved testing bores at the base and some neighbouring properties.

So far the investigation has led to 92 households near the base being supplied with bottled drinking water.

So far the investigation has led to 92 households near the base being supplied with bottled drinking water.

The testing has also found PFAS in eggs from hens kept by a Bullsbrook resident.

The department said it has engaged Jacobs, an independent environmental consultancy firm, to conduct the investigation in accordance with the national environmental protection (assessment of site contamination) measure framework.

“The detailed environmental investigation will identify the potential nature and extent of PFAS contamination on and in the surrounding area of the investigation site,’’ the statement said.

The department is asking residents near the airfield in Yeal to voluntarily fill in a water use survey so the department can collect information about water supply and use on properties around the base.
“Your response will inform Defence’s investigation of the environmental conditions in the Gingin Satellite Airfield investigation area.

“Supply of this information is voluntary.

“If you choose not to provide this information, Defence will not be able to take into account your specific circumstances.

“The information you provide may be shared with Defence’s technical advisors, relevant government agencies and organisations, and business entities directly involved in the environmental assessment program.”

Such organisations may include but are not limited to the WA Department of the Premier and Cabinet, WA Departmentment of Water and Environmental Regulation, WA Department of Health and the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

More information about the PFAS investigation and management program can be found at http://www.defence.gov.au/Environment/PFAS/

Email: gingin.defence@jacobs.com

Hotline number: 1800 290 601