skip to navigation skip to content skip to footer

PFAS Investigation &
Management Program

RAAF Base East Sale

RAAF Base East Sale PFAS Investigation

Summary of the Investigation

RAAF Base East Sale
In May 2016, Defence commenced a detailed environmental investigation into the presence of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on and in the vicinity of RAAF Base East Sale.

The objective of this environmental investigation is to identify the nature and extent of PFAS in the environment from the use of legacy firefighting foam at the Base.

The three stages to the investigation are outlined below:

Preliminary Site Investigation
The first stage of the investigation, the Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI), has been completed.

Detailed Site Investigation
The second stage of the investigation, the Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) was completed in June 2017. The DSI involved on and off-base sampling of soil, surface water, drainage lines and groundwater to assess the nature and extent of PFAS on and near the base. The DSI report is available on the publications page.

Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment
Based on the initial findings conducted for the DSI, Defence commenced a Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment (HHERA). The HHERA will evaluate potential exposure pathways to people, plants and animals and will be used to inform potential actions to reduce PFAS exposure.

Defence released an Interim HHERA on 7 December 2017 to provide the community with preliminary advice. This assessment has provided Defence a greater understanding of the current human and ecological risks from exposure to PFAS within the Investigation Area. The Interim HHERA is available on the publications page.

The Interim HHERA will be followed by a comprehensive HHERA, which will look at potential PFAS exposure risks in more detail. The comprehensive HHERA will include additional work to address data gaps. Defence will work with EPA Victoria and other Victorian Government agencies to complete this work and deliver the findings in 2018.
Further information on the investigation process can be found at the investigation process page.

The findings from the investigations will be used to identify and prioritise site specific management actions to address PFAS contamination.

Defence is committed to regularly updating the community throughout the investigation. As well as community engagement events, updates are provided through the project website, newsletters and factsheets as new information becomes available.

Community Notice

On 28 September 2017 Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) recommended that recreational fish and game hunters do not consume fish, eels or ducks caught at the Heart Morass wetlands until the release of the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment which is currently being developed.

People who have eaten fish, eels or ducks are not considered to be at risk of any adverse health effects.

This precautionary advice was issued following preliminary testing of per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) levels in plants and animals undertaken by Defence near RAAF Base East Sale.

Visit the VIC EPA Website for further information.