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PFAS Investigation &
Management Program

Investigation Process

PFAS Investigation Process

Defence is undertaking environmental investigations in accordance with the National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 (NEPM). There are three main steps to the investigation process: a Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI), a Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) and a Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment. The Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment is only conducted if the results of the DSI deem it is necessary.

Throughout the investigation Defence also undertakes management initiatives. These may include supplying alternative drinking water, reducing the spread of PFAS and managing contaminated soil and water.

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Preliminary Site Investigation


A Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) includes a desktop historical review, site inspections and may include limited sampling to determine the potential for PFAS contamination.


Detailed Site Investigation


A Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) follows a PSI and includes sampling, analysis and interpretation of soil, water, plants, animals and other environmental media which may be affected by PFAS contamination. A DSI identifies the areas where legacy firefighting foam was previously used (source areas) and how far it has spread in the environment. Depending on the outcomes of a DSI, a human health and/or ecological risk assessment may be required.


Human Health & Ecological Risk Assessment
(If deemed necessary)


If the DSI identifies that contamination is present and sensitive ecological receptors such as marine life, plants or animals may be affected or that humans may have the potential to be exposed to the contamination, an assessment will be undertaken into the risk of PFAS contamination to human health and the environment.


The information associated with these three main stages all form the basis for a site specific management plan that will aim to address the risks identified in the investigation.