Defence is continuously working towards the effective monitoring and management of PFAS contamination on, and in the vicinity of, Defence sites. Defence continues to engage with industry experts both nationally and internationally to identify the best management and remediation options for PFAS.
The best management and remediation options for a particular site are determined by site-specific factors, including hydrogeology, soil configuration, the extent of contamination and the nature of exposure pathways. The environmental investigations currently underway will provide Defence with significant site-specific information. At the end of each investigation Defence will use the findings to develop a PFAS Management Area Plan that is tailored to the unique conditions of the site. The aim of the PFAS Management Area Plan is to provide options to manage the risks of PFAS exposure on and near the Base and outline a plan for ongoing monitoring.
Defence has engaged Ventia Utility Services to operate and maintain a PFAS Soil Treatment Plant at RAAF Base Edinburgh. These works will occur as part of a four month trial aimed at treating 2,500 tonnes of soil from an area with known elevated levels of PFAS.
The plant will work by washing the contaminated soil in a solution which removes the PFAS, before the waste is sent off-site for management or destruction. The treated soil will be suitable for reuse on-site.
The plant, which is in the process of being delivered from the UK, requires the construction of footings and foundations at RAAF Base Edinburgh, in anticipation of installation (and commissioning) in early 2019.
Defence is running water treatment plants to remove PFAS from the environment.
Water treatment plants are currenlty operating at the following locations: (click a location for more information)
As a precaution, Defence is providing alternative sources of drinking water as an interim measure to eligible residents located within an area currently under investigation or management where PFOS or PFOA is detected in a residential bore, rainwater tank or other existing source of drinking water.
Bottled water is currenlty being provided to residents at four sites: Williamtown, Oakey, Katherine and Bullsbrook. As a long term solution, Defence is also installing rain water tanks at 87 properties in Katherine.
For more information about alternative water arrangements, visit the support page.
As a precaution, Defence is funding connections to town water for eligible properties in the Oakey and Williamtown Management Areas.
Visit the Oakey and Williamtown management activities pages for further information.
Defence has excavated sediment from open drains at Army Aviation Centre Oakey and RAAF Base Williamtown to reduce the migration of PFAS contamination in surface and ground water. The removal of contaminated sediment and replacement with new clean drain lining material reduces the exposure of the surface runoff to PFAS which will, in turn, reduce the migration of PFAS from these Bases to the surrounding environment.
The material removed was safely disposed of in accordance with EPA guidelines.