RAAF Williams - Laverton and RAAF Base Point Cook

Latest updates

Important information for communities around RAAF Williams - Laverton.

Investigations and findings

In August 2022, Defence completed investigations into per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination on and around RAAF Williams - Laverton and RAAF Base Point Cook. Defence recognises that the PFAS contamination from RAAF Williams - Laverton is a significant issue for the local community. Defence is committed to 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.

Four source areas were found on RAAF Williams - Laverton where PFAS levels require further study or action. These were:

  • Wet testing area (which extends partially off site)
  • Western finger area (which extend partially off site)
  • Former secondary fire training area
  • Former GEMS compound (now off-site and extends partially on-site)

The western half of the original RAAF Williams - Laverton was sold by Defence and redeveloped as a suburb now known as Williams Landing. The investigations found that PFAS contamination in areas which now form part of Williams Landing has been spread by the development activities and is no longer concentrated in specific source areas.

The following source areas were identified on RAAF Base Point Cook where PFAS levels require further study or action.

  • Former fire training area, including the surrounding waste disposal areas, located in the south western corner of the site
  • Fire training compound / former fire station and storage area, located in the southern portion of the site
  • Firefighting practice area C, located in the central portion of the site.

Human Health Risk Assessment

As part of the investigations, Defence conducted a Human Health Risk Assessment for RAAF Williams - Laverton. This assessment measured the PFAS exposure risks to people living, working and undertaking recreational activities within the management area.

This assessment found the PFAS exposure risk to human health is generally low. However, for residents living on former Defence land at Williams Landing, eating high amounts of home grown fruit and vegetables was identified as a potential elevated exposure risk. This situation is considered unlikely, due to the local climate which limits the amount of fruit and vegetables that can be grown year-round.

The assessment also identified a potential elevated exposure risk for people eating fish from Skeleton Creek. Based on these findings, Environment Protection Authority Victoria released consumption advice on fish caught from Skeleton Creek.

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

Additional Investigations

Defence is currently preparing to undertake a Mass Flux Assessment that tracks how and where PFAS is moving from source areas and how much PFAS is leaving the base. This study will help determine the best remediation actions to reduce the amount of PFAS leaving RAAF Williams Laverton and RAAF Base Point Cook.

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.

Ongoing monitoring

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

Results are published in an Ongoing Monitoring 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. 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.

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 document archive contains links to information that Defence has published about the management of PFAS. This includes:

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

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

Documents Archive - Williams (Laverton and Point Cook) (PDF, 339.26 KB)

Last review: 28 June 2023