Airservices results of PFAS investigation at Mackay Airport


Airservices Australia today released the results of its on-airport Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) into per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination at its leased sites on Mackay Airport. The PSI is part of a national PFAS Management Program and was conducted by independent consultants GHD Pty Ltd.

The PSI detected PFAS on airport, in close proximity to the leased sites where Airservices carried out its fire service activities prior to 2010, when it transitioned to a PFAS-free foam, and at other locations not associated with Airservices activities.

The PSI report indicated PFAS was detected at low levels in soils and sediments. The PSI also indicated PFAS was detected in groundwater and surface water on-airport above human health guidelines indicating further investigations were required. However the report noted it was unlikely that groundwater onsite or in the vicinity is extracted for potable purposes.

Airservices commissioned further, targeted investigations to better characterise PFAS on and off-airport including offsite sampling of sediment, surface water and biota in Shellgrit Creek. A water survey was also commissioned of neighbouring properties to the south and east of the Airport.

The targeted offsite sampling showed PFAS detected above human health guidelines in fish sampled in Shellgrit Creek adjacent to the airport. The exact source of the PFAS is unknown as there has been other historical users of PFAS products at the airport.

Airservices notified the Mackay Airport and the Queensland state regulator so that appropriate action can be taken. The results of the water survey indicated there are no known properties in the south and east of the airport using groundwater bores for drinking water or irrigation. The report of these further investigations will be published on Airservices’ website when complete.

We have engaged extensively with the Airport and the regulators as part of our investigation of PFAS at Mackay Airport and will continue to do so, as part of a risk-based approach to responsibly manage PFAS at Mackay Airport.

Airservices is undertaking a Detailed Site Investigation at Mackay Airport and this is expected to commence later this year.

Airservices stopped using fire-fighting foam containing PFAS at the airport in 2010.

The PSI is published here.

More information

Airservices Australia – Airport-specific information:

Commonwealth Department of Health – Per and Poly-fluroalkyl substances (PFAS):

Commonwealth PFAS website:

DES Queensland – PFAS Contamination:

Posted on: August 1, 2019

Posted in

More News

Related topics

Airservices provides safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry.

Brisbane New Parallel Runway Flight Paths Post Implementation Review Final Report available to view

Airservices Australia has today published its Brisbane New Parallel Runway Flight Paths Post Implementation Review (PIR) Final Report. This is the next stage of Airservices’ review of Brisbane New Parallel Runway flight paths, which commenced in July 2021. This report builds on extensive community consultation, including face-to-face community engagement sessions, attended by residents from 88 […]

Santa makes flying visit to Airservices Australia ahead of Operation Present Drop this Christmas

Check out all the video action of Santa’s visit to Airservices here. With Christmas fast approaching, Santa made a special, top-secret trip to Airservices Australia this week to confirm his flight path and ensure all is in order for Operation Present Drop on Christmas Eve. As Australia’s official Santa flight management team, Airservices has allocated […]

Airservices Australia strikes new in-principle Enterprise Agreement with United Fire Fighters Union of Australia

Airservices Australia is pleased to announce it has finalised an in-principle, 12-month Enterprise Agreement with the United Fire Fighters Union of Australia Aviation Branch (UFUAV). Airservices has been engaging with UFUAV and the Australian Public Service Commission to finalise a new Agreement in line with the Public Sector Interim Workplace Arrangements. Under the new Agreement, […]

Santa is coming and so are the planes!

The first sign of tinsel in the shops, empty shelves where the Christmas lights once were. The signs are unmistakable: Santa is coming, and so are the planes back to our skies. According to Airservices Australia, the organisation responsible for safely managing 11 per cent of the world’s airspace, Christmas 2022 is going to be […]