Blamey Barracks (Kapooka Military Area)

Latest updates

Important information for communities around Blamey Barracks.

Investigations and findings

In June 2021, Defence completed investigations into per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination on and around Blamey Barracks.

Defence recognises that the PFAS contamination at Blamey Barracks is a significant issue for the Wagga Wagga community. Defence is committed to working with the NSW Government to manage, remediate and continuously 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.

Four sources areas were found on the base where PFAS concentrations required further study or action:

  • Fire station
  • Former fire training area 1
  • Former fire training area 2
  • Waste water irrigation areas

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.

The assessment found the PFAS contamination from Blamey Barracks has a low exposure risk to human health. However, the risk assessment identified a potentially elevated exposure risk from eating fish caught from dams along Kapooka Creek and eating home-reared lamb (where sheep are watered from dams). For precautionary advice, please contact the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

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

Additional investigations

A Mass Flux Assessment and remediation options assessment are currently being conducted. The Mass Flux Assessment that tracks how and where PFAS is moving from source areas and how much PFAS is leaving the base. Defence is also undertaking a remediation options assessment that will involve sampling of soil, surface water, surface water runoff and sewerage from the base. These studies will help determine the best remediation actions to reduce the amount of PFAS leaving Blamey Barracks. Both studies are expected to be completed in late-2023.

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.

The Mass Flux Assessment and the remediation options assessment currently being undertaken will assist in identifying future remediation works at Blamey Barracks.

Ongoing monitoring

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

Monitoring results to date have found no significant changes to how PFAS is moving in the management area. However, the remedial works are expected to reduce PFAS from leaving the base and over time, this will contribute to the reduction of PFAS in the management area.

The results are published in an Ongoing Monitoring Interpretive Report and factsheet. Defence will inform the community if changes to the management approach are required.

Recent reports and factsheets

Detailed reports from the PFAS investigation and management 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 Blamey Barracks document archive contains information that Defence has published about the management of PFAS, including older community presentations, investigation reports, risk assessments and factsheets.

Some archived information has been superseded by recent reports and factsheets.

Documents Archive - Blamey Barracks (PDF, 212.24 KB)

Last review: 28 June 2023