Wednesday 21st Nov, 2018

PFAS investigation continues at Port of Townsville

Photo: Chris Mackey
Photo: Chris Mackey

IN April, Port of Townsville detected elevated levels of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) during a voluntary groundwater testing program around the port.

Following the detection, the port began a preliminary investigation with the assistance of GHD and Queensland government departments to ascertain the nature and extent of the PFAS contamination within the port and beyond its boundary.

In a statement POTL said during the investigation, it had contacted residents that live within close proximity to the port to provide information about water usage from bores.

The investigation is ongoing, with results expected to be released to the public by the end of the month, which POTL said was “a few weeks” later than anticipated.

The extra time was needed to ensure all residential bores that are available for testing could be, and the results communicated to the property occupants.

PFAS, 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.

The POTL statement said the port area is all reclaimed land and its origins are in locations where there have been a range of industrial uses over 150 years.

Historical activities in the areas of the highest PFAS readings included a coal-fired power station, old naval bunker lines, railway operations and former fuel storage facilities, according to POTL.

North Queensland Bulk Ports also detected PFAS at the Port of Mackay.

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