What is the situation at Lavington RFS?
PFAS investigations are currently being conducted at Lavington RFS at 629 Krautz Street, Lavington. The site is owned by the Australian Department of Finance.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority has been monitoring the progress of NSW RFS PFAS investigations at Lavington RFS .
Why is PFAS being investigated?
Foam containing PFAS has been 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?
A preliminary site investigation was completed in May 2018. This was followed by additional monitoring in June 2018, which included groundwater, sediment, soil and surface water sampling. A Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment was completed in July 2018 and a site improvement plan was completed in August 2018.
What were the results?
PFAS was not detected in groundwater samples. PFAS was detected in some sediment samples below the human health and ecological assessment criteria, and in some soil samples within the acceptable public open space limits. PFAS compounds were detected in a small dam near the RFS site. The dam is neither used for drinking water, nor for recreational purposes and is fenced.
The detection of PFAS was limited to a 1.07 ha area adjacent to the RFS site. Testing determined the 1.07 ha area is suitable for open space, commercial and industrial use, and neighbouring properties are suitable for residential use as detections were below the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan 2018 (NEMP) open space and residential guidelines.
What happens now?
As a precaution RFS is now planning to implement site improvement measures, in consultation with the NSW Environment Protection Authority. Fencing around the dam will be improved, new signage installed and a gate to the dam will be secured to prevent livestock access. Works will be undertaken to prevent dam water from overflowing in a one in 20-year stormwater event. Upstream stormwater will be diverted away from the site and periodic monitoring of dam water will be undertaken, particularly after major rain events. Dam water will be treated if these site improvement measures are unable to maintain dam water PFAS levels at, or under the NEMP drinking water guidelines of 0.07 mg/L. A section of PFAS affected soil will also be removed in accordance with NSW EPA waste classification guidelines and sent to landfill.
- 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 Taskforce is taking a precautionary approach to protecting human health.
- You can read more about what the NSW RFS is doing by monitoring this site.
Our commitment to you
We will work to ensure you are kept up to date on the situation and 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 03 Jun 2020.