Airservices results of PFAS investigation at Melbourne Airport

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Airservices Australia today released the results of its Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) into per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination at its leased sites on Melbourne Airport.

The PSI is part of a national PFAS Management Program and was conducted by independent consultants SEMF Pty Ltd (now COVA). 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.

The PSI concluded there is currently insufficient information to determine if there is a risk of environmental contamination off Airservices’ leasehold sites, arising from its historical use of fire fighting foam containing PFAS, and that further investigations are required.

Planning for further investigation on airport is already underway. It will include downstream water and sediment sampling of discharge points from Airservices’ leasehold sites to determine any potential off-property migration, and development of appropriate management strategies.

Airservices is focussed on identifying practical, effective technology to manage PFAS contamination. Various trials are underway at other sites. Airservices plans to implement some of these technologies at Melbourne Airport in 2019, such as newly-developed solvents to immobilise PFAS in concrete. Airservices will also consider the potential for more conventional wastewater treatment, as the results of ongoing trials become available.

The Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPAV) advises normal drinking water supplies are not affected in this area. Airservices is part of the Melbourne Airport PFAS Project Control Group (PCG), alongside the airport operator and relevant Commonwealth and state regulators, to coordinate an appropriate and effective response to PFAS contamination.

The PSI report is published here: https://www.airservicesaustralia.com/community/environment/pfas/

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Posted on: April 11, 2019

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