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Central Coast Fire Control Centre, Charmhaven

What is the situation at Charmhaven?

Detailed PFAS investigations have commenced at the Central Coast Fire Control Centre, 104 Arizona Road, Charmhaven.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) is monitoring the progress of NSW RFS (RFS) PFAS investigations at Charmhaven.

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?

The investigation included sampling of soil, concrete and surface water by independent environmental consultants on behalf of the RFS.

What were the results?

The detailed site investigation report found PFAS detections in some soil samples in the immediate vicinity of the Central Coast FCC firefighting training area which were above the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan 2.0 open space guidelines.

What happens now?

A site improvement options plan has been developed by an independent environmental consultant and reviewed in consultation with the RFS and NSW EPA.

Stage 1 site improvement works, which included additional sampling to further delineate PFAS, have been completed. Following a review of Stage 1 works, Stage 2 works will commence. This will include the removal of PFAS affected soil and concrete. The soil will be sent to landfill, in accordance with NSW EPA waste classification guidelines, and replaced with clean fill.

More information

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Information updated September 2023