What is the situation at Austral?
PFAS investigations have commenced at the Austral RFS, 59 Ninth Avenue, Austral. The facility is no longer used for firefighting operations. The NSW Environment Protection Authority is leading the NSW PFAS investigation program and is monitoring the progress of NSW RFS PFAS investigations at the Austral site
Why is PFAS being 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.
What testing is being undertaken?
Investigations involve on- and off-site sampling of soil and surface water by environmental consultants.
NSW RFS also sought the assistance of some residents near the Austral facilities regarding off-site soil sampling.
What were the results?
Sampling has confirmed the presence of PFAS in some soil samples. A detailed site investigation is currently being undertaken to assess the extent of PFAS at the site and the improvement actions that will be required.
The presence of PFAS in the environment may not necessarily pose a risk to human health or the environment. 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 happens now?
More information will be provided once sampling has been completed and the results become available. Investigations can take some months to complete.
- Read more about the NSW EPA state-wide PFAS program.
- Questions about the NSW EPA’s state-wide PFAS investigation program can be directed to the NSW Environment Line on 131 555.
- NSW Health has a range of information available about PFAS.
- The Commonwealth Department of Health’s Expert Health Panel provided advice on the health impacts of PFAS (May 2018). While there is no consistent evidence of any human health effects related to PFAS exposure, the NSW PFAS Technical Advisory Group is taking a precautionary approach to protecting human health.
- You can read more about what the NSW RFS PFAS investigations by monitoring this site.
Our commitment to you
We will work to keep you up to date on investigations.
You can register for updates or ask questions by emailing email@example.com or contact Debra Thompson, NSW RFS on 02 8508 4040.
Information updated 05 Mar 2021.