“The government is expanding the investigation into water and soil contamination from chemicals commonly found in firefighting foam.
‘The national scale of the investigation requires a significantly larger response for at least the next 12 months,’ a newly released Cabinet paper said.
The remaining investigation by the defence force would be led through the all-of-government programme, ‘recognising local government as the lead regulatory agency’, it said.
The defence force had a water and soil testing programme planned for the next year ‘prioritised in order of risk to human health’.
‘All information arising from the test results is reviewed by the all-of-government group, including the Ministry of Health, Ministry for Primary Industries, and local government so that communities can be provided with the best advice,’ the ministry told RNZ today…
So far the focus has been on Defence Force testing around its bases for the PFAS chemicals, which have raised increasing environmental and health alarms worldwide over the last two decades.
It has focused on the three such chemicals the most is known about – PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS. This is already behind the global trend, which is to also consider the many hundreds of other types of PFASs as a potential threat too.
So far about $100,000 has been spent on the investigation in New Zealand, with $1 million budgeted for this financial year…
The Environment Ministry here has previously said that for any clean-up, the use of tests that detect a wider range of PFASs, would be ‘essential’.
However, that type of testing was still not being used and the Cabinet paper did not mention it.
New standards and protocols for sampling and testing would be set this year, it said.”
Read the full article by Phil Pennington