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Important information for communities around Bandiana Military Area.

Investigations and findings

In November 2020, Defence completed investigations into per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination on and around the Bandiana Military Area. Defence is working with the Victorian Government to manage, remediate and monitor PFAS contamination in the area.

The investigations found that PFAS is mostly concentrated in areas where firefighting foams were previously used, stored or disposed. These are called source areas. The PFAS in these locations can be found in soil and in water flowing through the source areas. PFAS moves in surface water flowing through drains and creeks or groundwater that flows underground through soil and rock.

The investigations identified 15 potential PFAS source areas across the base. These were areas of the site typically used for fire training activities, with selected areas also used to dispose of aqueous film-forming foam products that were used to suppress fires. A number of these source areas were recommended for further assessment and management as needed.

Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment

As part of the investigations, Defence conducted a Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment. This assessment measured the PFAS exposure risks to people living, working and undertaking recreational activities within the management area and to local plant and animal life.

Based on the investigations, Environment Protection Authority Victoria has released precautionary advice not to eat carp caught in the Kiewa River between Bakers Lane and the Cudgewa-Wodonga Rail Trail, inclusive of the flood plain area bound by Bakers Lane and the Murray Valley Highway. This advice is only applies to carp and does not include other fish species.

More detail on Defence’s risk assessments can be found in the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment factsheets.

Remediation and management

The aim of remediation is to minimise PFAS leaving the base by focusing on the remediation and management of the source areas. Over time this will contribute to the reduction of PFAS in the management area. Defence has a PFAS Management Area Plan setting out the proposed remedial works and other management actions to manage potential risks presented by PFAS.

Groundwater remedial works were recommended in the PFAS Management Area Plan for the current Fire Station at East Bandiana (Source Area 13). However, more investigations are required to ensure that any remediation of this area is effective. As of April 2023, these investigations are underway. Once these are completed, a remediation plan will be developed in late 2023.

Defence has also worked with Environment Protection Authority Victoria and relevant water authorities in establishing a Groundwater Quality (Restricted Use Zone) at Bandiana. People in this area should not use groundwater for any purpose.

More information about the Groundwater Quality Restricted Use Zone, refer to Environment Protection Authority Victoria.

Ongoing monitoring

Monitoring of PFAS continues through sampling of surface water, groundwater and sediment. Monitoring helps Defence understand if PFAS contamination is changing over time.

Recent reports and factsheets

Detailed reports from the PFAS investigation and management program are available for download. Appendices to these reports can be found in the document archive. To discuss these reports contact pfas.enquiry@defence.gov.au.

Document archive

The Bandiana Military Area document archive information published about the management of PFAS. This includes

  • older community presentations,
  • investigation reports,
  • risk assessments and
  • factsheets.

Some archived documents have been superseded by recent reports and factsheets.

Documents Archive - Bandiana (PDF, 277.29 KB)

Last review: 28 June 2023