Read the full article by Roxanne Fitzgerald (ABC Katherine)
“In a couple of weeks scores of half-size shipping containers filled with tonnes of toxic soil will begin making the 3,500-kilometre journey from northern Australia to Victoria.
Defence has begun tackling the toxic legacy of the firefighting foam that was used for decades at the Tindal Royal Australian Air Force Base and other sites around Australia.
It has been more than six years since residents in Katherine were told that persistently high levels of toxic compounds, known collectively as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS, had been found in their only drinking source.
Every year since, roughly 40 kilograms of the chemical has leached into the groundwater from the RAAF base, where large areas of contaminated soil have been left to seep.
Defence has conceded there is “no silver bullet” that would effectively destroy all traces of the ‘forever chemical’ from the base, but it is committed to solving the problem.
‘It’s a complex chemical and it’s a very complex remedial challenge,’ Defence’s remediation advisor Amanda Lee said.
‘What we’ve done here today is come up with the best solution available to us today with proven technology to try and address this problem.’
Despite explicit warnings dating back to 1987 that the product must not enter the environment, many thousands of litres of the firefighting foam were discarded onto bare earth or washed into stormwater systems and evaporation ponds.” …