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Broke Rural Fire Brigade

What is the situation at Broke Rural Fire Station?

PFAS investigations have commenced at the Broke Rural Fire Station, Corner Milbrodale Road and Wollombi Street, Broke, NSW 2330 and at McNamara Park adjacent to the RFS site.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) is leading the NSW PFAS investigation program and is monitoring the progress of NSW RFS (RFS) PFAS investigations at the Broke Rural Fire Station.

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.

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 is being undertaken?

Detailed Site Investigation sampling of soil, groundwater, surface water and sediment and a Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment were completed by independent environmental consultants on behalf of RFS.

RFS also sought the assistance of nearby residents regarding off site soil sampling and/or a water use survey as part of the investigation.

What were the results?

Sampling has confirmed the presence of PFAS in some soil samples.

What happens now?

Further sampling is currently being undertaken to assess the extent of PFAS at the site and inform the site improvement actions that will be required to address PFAS.

Investigations can take some months to complete.

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 May 2024