Monday 19th Nov, 2018

Report on Townsville PFAS preliminary investigation released

Photo: Molecular model of Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid; public domain
Photo: Molecular model of Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid; public domain

PORT of Townsville has released its preliminary investigation report on the presence of per- and poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) around the Port, with investigation results largely showing safe levels of the chemicals in water. But, a few of the results within the port boundary showed PFAS presence that were “above the recreational health guidelines”.


Out of the 74 groundwater bores that were tested within the port industrial area, 11 bores were above the recreational health guidelines.

The report pointed out that PFAS in the industrial port area was localised, and the groundwater was not used for drinking water, and was therefore a low risk to human health.

However, out of the 13 resident-requested bore tests, four were “slightly above drinking water guidelines”, with the other nine below drinking water guidelines. The report noted that these bores were not used for drinking water.

Also, all 26 marine water samples and all 37 sediment samples in Ross Creek, Ross River and Cleveland Bay were “below human health and environmental criteria”.

Preliminary investigations showed there could be several sources of PFAS in and around the port industrial, from historical sources to more recent fire protection systems.

The full report, with maps of bore-test sites can be found on Port of Townsville’s website.

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.

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