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Kemps Creek Training Facility


What is the situation at the Kemps Creek Training Facility?

A site improvement options plan has been prepared for the Kemps Creek Training Facility at 245 Devonshire Road, Kemps Creek, in consultation with Liverpool City Council and NSW RFS (RFS), which provides management options for the site.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) has been monitoring the progress of RFS PFAS investigations at the Kemps Creek Training Facility.

Why was PFAS investigated?

Foam containing PFAS was used in firefighting activities, such as fuel type fires and training, by some Rural Fire Brigades since 1975 for the protection of people and property.

The RFS identified PFAS-containing firefighting foam might have been stored or used as part of fire training and operations at this location. As a precaution, the RFS is undertaking investigations to determine if PFAS from firefighting foam might still be present in the environment.

The presence of PFAS in the environment may not necessarily pose a risk to human health or the environment. There is currently no consistent evidence that exposure to PFOS and PFOA causes adverse human health effects (refer to NSW Health Site).  It is important to assess if there are any potential ways in which people might have contact with these chemicals.  The primary PFAS exposure pathways are through drinking water containing PFAS, or eating produce that was grown using water containing PFAS.  Local residents are connected to the town water supply, which is safe to use.

What testing was undertaken?

A Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) and a Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment, completed in April 2018, included soil, groundwater, sediment and surface water sampling from various locations on and off-site, as well as produce grown on nearby properties. The DSI followed preliminary investigations which confirmed the presence of PFAS in some samples at and around the Kemps Creek Training Facility. The detailed testing was undertaken to verify earlier findings, to help determine the extent of any PFAS migration, and inform site management actions.

What were the results?

PFAS were detected in some soil, sediment, ground and surface water samples.

The NSW EPA and NSW PFAS Technical Advisory Group recommended that, as a precaution, specific residents near Liverpool City Council’s Western Depot not use surface water for drinking, cooking or watering produce (fruit, vegetables, herbs and poultry). The potentially affected residents downstream of the Depot and upstream of Kemps Creek were notified.  This advice does not apply to the wider Kemps Creek community.

What happens now?

Liverpool City Council, as the site owner, will lead the implementation of the site improvement options plan in consultation with the NSW EPA, RFS and residents. A stormwater management plan has been recommended by the site improvement options plan, to manage run-off from the site will help to reduce any potential exposure to PFAS.

The findings of the previous investigations on this site and the neighbouring properties are being validated, taking into consideration the weather events since 2021.

More information

Our commitment to you

We will work to keep you up to date on investigations.

Email pfas@rfs.nsw.gov.au for more information.

Information updated February 2024