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Mt Riverview Rural Fire Brigade

What is the situation at Mt Riverview Rural Fire Brigade Station?

PFAS investigations have commenced at the Mt Riverview Rural Fire Station located at 178 Rusden Road, Mt Riverview, NSW.

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 Mt Riverview 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, 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.

What testing is being undertaken?

Targeted Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) sampling, undertaken by an independent environmental consultant, was completed in early May 2023. Sampling included:

  • soil from on and off-site locations
  • water tank
  • pooled/puddled water
  • concrete
  • grown produce

The aim of detailed sampling was to identify the presence of any PFAS and to determine if any site management actions might be required to address PFAS if found to be present.

What were the results?

The consultant has advised RFS there is no further requirement for assessment or remediation at Mt Riverview as:

  • PFAS concentrations were below the relevant Health Investigation Levels in all of the 62 soil samples collected
  • PFAS concentrations were below the relevant criteria in all of the four samples collected from the water tank
  • PFAS at low concentrations were detected in only one pooled water sample – below all relevant criteria with the exception of the 99% freshwater criteria.
  • PFAS were detected in leachate analysis in only one of the nine concrete samples at very low concentrations.
  • PFAS were not detected in fruit samples
  • PFAS at low concentrations, below adopted screening criteria, were detected in egg samples

A targeted Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) has been undertaken which has determined that potential human health impacts are low and acceptable.

What happens now?

The DSI and HHRA Reports were submitted to the NSW EPA for review.  The NSW EPA determined the human health risks are low and acceptable, as only minor levels of PFAS were detected and the site investigation is considered to be complete.

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Information updated October 2023