RAAF bases at Amberley, Townsville at centre of new contamination scandal

By Rhian Deutrom, originally posted on November 8, 2016


LARGE amounts of potentially deadly chemicals PFOS and PFOA have been detected near two of Queensland’s premier defence sites.

RAAF Base Amberley and RAAF Base Townsville have been identified as sites of major concern in a report released by the Defence Department this afternoon.

The report, prepared by GHD and commissioned by the department four months ago, has also found 10 other defence sites across Australia that contain serious levels of PFOS and PFOA.

The chemicals are found in toxic firefighting foam and were at the centre of the Oakey water contamination scandal.

Several samples from Amberley and Townsville’s groundwater and surface water reportedly “exceeded adopted screening levels”.

According to the damning report, drinking water at Townsville RAAF Base contains PFOS at 307 times the acceptable safe limit and PFOA 12 times the limit.

The site’s surface water contains PFOS at nearly 300 times the safe limit and PFOA at four times the limit.

The Defence Department has come under fire from advocacy groups and solicitors for not using internationally accepted screening levels for PFOS and PFOA which are significantly higher, revealing the chemicals are much more dangerous in smaller amounts.

Under these levels of 0.07 micrograms/litre, both defence sites have recorded extraordinarily concerning levels of PFOS and PFOA.

Amberley has recorded PFOS at more than 22 times the international safe limit and PFOA twice the limit.

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