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Important information for communities around Singleton Military Area.

Investigations and findings

In December 2021, Defence completed detailed investigations into per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination on and around Singleton Military Area. Defence is committed to working with the 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.

At Singleton Military Area, PFAS is mainly found at the former containment fire station. This area was identified as the main source area where PFAS was found at levels that required further study or action.

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.

This assessment found the PFAS contamination from Singleton Military Area presented a low exposure risk to human health and to local plant and animal life. The findings identified a potential elevated exposure risk for a small number of people living within the investigation area who eat large quantities of home-grown meat, milk or backyard chicken eggs. On 7 December 2021, Defence held a community information session to provide the local community with an update on the detailed environmental investigation and presented the findings of the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment. More detail on Defence’s risk assessments can be found in the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment factsheet.

Additional investigations

Defence is currently conducting a Mass Flux Assessment that tracks how and where PFAS is moving from source areas 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 Singleton Military Area. The Mass Flux Assessment is underway and is expected to be completed by mid-2024.

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.

As recommended in the management plan for Singleton Military Area, Defence closed down the former containment fire station. This work involved the demolition of the buildings and concrete. Defence ensured the PFAS impacted waste from this project was removed and treated at an off-site facility.

Ongoing monitoring

Monitoring of PFAS continues through sampling of surface water, groundwater, sewage and sediment. 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 remediation works are expected to reduce PFAS moving off base, and over time this will contribute to the reduction of PFAS in the management area.

Recent reports and factsheets

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

Some documents have been superseded by recent reports and factsheets.

Documents Archive - Singleton (PDF, 268.69 KB)

Last review: 28 June 2023