Related — The community had a right to know about the detected PFAS levels: NSW Labor

“PFAS contamination has been detected in at least five sites across the Shoalhaven according to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) investigation program.

The five locations listed on the investigation’s website include the Shoalhaven River, Currambene Creek, local Defence site HMAS Albatross and the Jervis Bay Range Facility and HMAS Creswell, as well as the Shoalhaven Rural Fire Service (RFS) training site at Nowra on Albatross Road.

Shoalhaven RFS manager Superintendent Mark Williams said PFAS foam had been used in significant quantities as part of firefighting training and one of the locations was the South Nowra Rural Fire Service.

The site is owned by Shoalhaven City Council and used by the NSW RFS as a training facility for many years by NSW RFS members.

After initial inspection and limited soil sampling by the EPA, the NSW RFS engaged environmental consultant, Arcadis, to conduct limited baseline testing for PFAS in soil and groundwater on-site, and in groundwater and surface water off-site.

The report stated PFAS was detected in a dam on the site and in drainage to Nowra Creek. PFAS was also detected in Nowra Creek.

The EPA said it continues to work collaboratively with RFS and Shoalhaven City Council to ensure an appropriate, scientific and risk-based approach is adopted throughout the investigation, and that the community receives information in a timely manner.

Dietary advice has been issued for a number of fish species in both the Shoalhaven River and Currambene Creek, while extensive investigations have also been undertaking at both Albatross, Creswell and the JB Range.

At Albatross Detailed Site investigation found elevated levels of PFAS in soil, groundwater and surface water on the base, and surface water and groundwater outside the base.

Detailed environmental investigations will also be carried out at Creswell and the Jervis Bay Range Facility after traces of firefighting foams were discovered in ground and surface water.

Surface water testing was undertaken at three sites on the JB Range, two were below recreational use (for things like swimming, playing in water, water skiing, fishing etc) criteria, while one was above recommended levels.”

Read the full article by Robert Crawford