Corowa Rural Fire Station
What is the situation at former Corowa Shire Council (now Federation Council) Fire Control Centre and Rural Fire Station?
PFAS investigations have commenced at the NSW Rural Fire Service site adjacent to Corowa Airport, 311 Redlands Road, Corowa, NSW 2646.
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 former Corowa Shire Council (now Federation Council) Fire Control Centre and 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.
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 (DSI) sampling, completed in June 2023 by independent environmental consultants on behalf of RFS, included soil, groundwater, surface water and sediment.
What were the results?
Sampling has confirmed the presence of PFAS in soil samples at concentrations below the applicable land use criteria.
What happens now?
RFS and the NSW EPA have reviewed the DSI Report to determine next investigation steps, which include further sampling of surface water, groundwater and soil to close some investigation data gaps.
- Read more about the NSW EPA state-wide PFAS program including Frequently Asked Questions
- 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 RFS PFAS investigations by monitoring this site.
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Information updated February 2024