Latest updates

Important information for communities around Holsworthy Barracks.

2021 Interpretive Report – January 2024 (PDF, 42.33 MB)

2021 Interpretive Report factsheet – January 2024 (PDF, 1.46 MB)

Investigations and findings

In June 2020, Defence completed investigations into per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination on and around Holsworthy Barracks. Defence is committed to working with the New South Wales (NSW) 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.

Five sources areas were found where PFAS concentrations required further study or action. These were:

  • Former 85 transport area
  • Former Luscombe sewage disposal area
  • Luscombe Airfield runway
  • Former sewage treatment plant area
  • Liverpool Fire Station and surrounding area

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 investigation found that risks to people, plants and animals resulting from PFAS exposure were low. The NSW Department of Primary Industries has issued precautionary dietary advice for people that eat certain species of finfish caught from the Georges River.

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

Additional investigations

Further sampling around the Liverpool Fire Station was undertaken in 2021 to understand potential health and ecological exposure risks in the residential area around the station. The findings were consistent with the results from the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment and did not change the low exposure risk previously identified.

Defence is planning to conduct a Mass Flux Assessment of the Luscombe Airfield, which has been identified as a source area on the base. This assessment tracks how and where PFAS is moving from the area and how much PFAS is leaving the base. Results from the study will help determine the best remediation actions to reduce the amount of PFAS leaving Holsworthy Barracks.

Remediation and management

The aim of remediation is to minimise PFAS leaving the base, which over time will contribute to the reduction of PFAS in the management area. Defence has a PFAS Management Area Plan for Holsworthy Barracks, which details the proposed remedial works and also the management actions Defence is taking to manage potential risks presented by PFAS.

The planned Mass Flux Assessment will inform the remediation works, or if any remediation is required at Holsworthy Barracks.

Ongoing monitoring 

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

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

Monitoring results to date have found no significant changes to how PFAS is moving in the management area. Defence continues to monitor PFAS on and around Holsworthy Barracks, and will keep the community informed of any updates.

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 Holsworthy 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 - Holsworthy (PDF, 214.96 KB)

Last review: 24 January 2024