“The NSW environmental watchdog knew for two years a now-derelict industrial site in the Hunter region was polluted with toxic chemicals before taking direct action to clean up the site.

PFAS contaminants were detected at the Rutherford refinery by Hunter Water in 2016, when the NSW Environment Protection Authority first became aware of it, an EPA spokeswoman told AAP.

But it wasn’t until March this year that it alerted users of water from nearby creeks after heavy rainfall led to the ‘first known discharge’ of PFAS contaminated water.

It then started a tender process in May for a contractor to maintain the waste oil processing plant – formerly owned by Truegain – and to prevent further discharges.

The EPA follows a ‘polluter pays’ rule but since Truegain went into liquidation in 2016, it has hampered the authority’s efforts to get the site cleaned up, a spokeswoman told AAP.

The EPA does, however, have powers to step in and take clean up action if owners fail to do so, she said.”

Read the full article by the Australian Associated Press