“Newly released documents show banned toxic firefighting foam chemicals have contaminated a bay in Devonport in Auckland.
The briefing, obtained under the Official Information Act, was from Defence Force chief Tim Keating to Defence Minister Ron Mark on 9 November.
It showed that as far back as November, the Defence Force was calling the foam contamination at Devonport and the Whenuapai airbase a ‘significant land contamination issue’ that ‘has implications across the Defence Estate’.
‘Soils, sediments and site runoff at the Sea Safety Training Squadron on the shoreline of Ngataringa Bay are contaminated with PFAS compounds,’ the briefing said.
The release also revealed that a well – which until recently provided drinking water at Woodbourne airbase near Blenheim – is also contaminated above safe levels.
‘An alternative well supply that is no longer used contains PFAS compounds at concentrations above current [health safety] guidelines,’ it said.
‘In recent years, water from that well has formed a significant part of the potable supply.’
Now the Defence Force is trying to figure out how long that well has been contaminated.
The OIA confirms the previous Defence Minister in the National-led government was briefed by Defence on the foam threat on 3 August, while Mr Mark’s November briefing came a month before the Defence Force first went public about the contamination…
The briefing did not reveal the extent of the contamination – for instance whether it affected the sand nearby – and Defence has not responded to RNZ’s questions about that.”
Read he full article by Phil Pennington.