Armidale Site - Environmental investigation

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has commenced investigation works at its Armidale training site (located at 2-16 Mann Street) to better understand the presence of presence of per- and fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on and around the site. This site is on Crown owned land managed by Armidale Regional Council and includes a range of other training facilities.

The main objective of this environmental investigation is to identify the presence, nature and extent of PFAS in the environment from the use of historical aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) at the site. Investigation findings will be used to identify site-specific management actions to address potential PFAS impacts.

The following stages of the investigation have now been completed. Documents are available under the reports section below.

  • In August 2016, a Preliminary Site Investigation and Sampling and Analysis Quality Plan (PDF) was completed, including a review of historical AFFF use and identification of potential sources of PFAS.
  • An Environmental Site Assessment (PDF) was completed in April 2017, including onsite and offsite sampling and laboratory analysis of groundwater, surface water, soils and sediments to understand the pathways for potential PFAS migration.
  • In October 2017, a more detailed Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment (PDF) was completed, with additional onsite and offsite sampling conducted to allow further understanding of the pathways for potential PFAS migration.
  • As part of this further assessment, the community was asked to complete a water survey to help identify how potentially contaminated water is being used. This survey is included as Appendix C of the Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment report. It was distributed to 28 people and a fact sheet was provided to residents within a two-kilometre radius of the site. You can read this updated January 2020 fact sheet at the bottom of this page.
  • In December 2017, a PFAS Management Options Assessment (PDF) report was prepared to provide a better understanding of the potential options to address onsite and offsite impacts in soil, groundwater and surface water at the site.
  • Private bore sampling (PDF) was undertaken in May 2018 at the Armidale Tourist Park (located at 39 Grafton Road), which is located approximately 600 metres northwest of the site.
  • In February 2019, a Site Improvement Plan (PDF) was developed to address the management of contamination issues associated with the presence of PFAS at the site. Its main objectives were to:
    • provide a strategy to manage or mitigate the potential risks posed by the presence of PFAS contamination remaining within the sediments and water in the on-site retention basin adjacent to the former fire training area; and,
    • provide recommendations to manage potential long-term risks posed by residual PFAS contamination remaining at the site following completion of any remediation and to detail ongoing monitoring requirements.
  • Following a review of reports for the site by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA), a series of data gaps were identified. It was also recommended by the NSW EPA that further investigation works be completed within the potential onsite source areas to better inform management actions.
  • In January 2020, FRNSW engaged environmental consultants to undertake additional site works to address two main objectives:
    • address data gaps identified in the previous investigation phases; and,
    • provide a better understanding of PFAS impacts within potential onsite source areas to inform site specific remedial criteria.
  • In May 2021, FRNSW engaged Public Works to assist with the establishment of a civil remediation contract panel. An expression of interest (EOI) was completed in July 2021 with five civil contractors being selected for the panel.
  • In May 2022 FRNSW/Public Works held a pre-tender early engagement workshop at the site where remedial contractors participated in defining options for PFAS remediation.

Next Steps

A remediation action plan (RAP) is currently being developed by FRNSW’s consultants and will be reviewed and approved by the NSW EPA accredited site auditor commissioned by FRNSW.

The tender process for a remedial contractor is expected to be completed in 2023.


Fact Sheet