Friday 16th Nov, 2018

Gladstone taking action on PFAS

Hema Maps / DCN
Hema Maps / DCN

GLADSTONE Ports Corporation earlier this year found elevated levels of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, at Port Central in Gladstone.

GPC said its priority was to confirm the initial groundwater sampling results against the Department of Health’s Recreational Water Guidelines.


During the process, the development of a groundwater model was commissioned by GPC to help determine the nature and extent of the issue.

GPC CEO Peter O’Sullivan said the groundwater modelling indicated the groundwater’s preferential flow was away from residential areas and towards Ship Creek.

“We have assessed the situation at Ship Creek through two rounds of groundwater sampling, with no elevated levels recorded,” he said.

A statement from GPC said there were no current restrictions to recreational activities such as swimming, boating or fishing, around the Port Central area and the port was reviewing the latest information to determine whether further work is required.

“We remain committed to keeping the community and our stakeholders informed throughout this process,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“We are also continuing to work closely with the Queensland Government in ensuring our response puts the health and safety of our community and our environment first.”

PFAS includes perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA). These chemicals, according to the Queensland government, were used in fire-fighting foams from the 1970 through to the mid-2000s. Use of the foam occurred at various civil sites including airports, military bases, fuel storage terminals, refineries and ports.

PFAS has also been detected at various other ports, including Mackay and Townsville, which have commenced investigations to ascertain concentrations of the chemicals in groundwater to inform further action.

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