What is the FRNSW environmental investigation about?
FRNSW engages independent specialist consultants to undertake environmental investigations into the presence of PFAS on, and in the vicinity of, our sites. This includes a number of our training sites and Fire Stations (current and former) across NSW where legacy firefighting foams containing PFAS have been stored and used. Please refer to the investigation sites page on this website for more information about specific sites.
What activities does FRNSW undertake in an environmental investigation?
Every investigation is tailored to the individual site, but typically an environmental investigation can involve:
- Desktop studies
- Targeted sampling and testing of local groundwater and monitoring wells on and off site
- Monitoring, sampling and testing surface water and sediment within drainage lines
- Community water and land use surveys to inform the assessment of potential exposure risks
- Ongoing liaison with relevant State and Local government authorities in relation to an investigation
- Community updates as required
- On-going engagement with local residents and other stakeholders.
Will my property be tested?
If your property is identified for sampling as part of an environmental investigation, you will receive contact from FRNSW seeking permission to sample your property. The project team will contact you to arrange a suitable date and time. If you wish to make changes to the sampling date or time, please contact the project team.
For the purposes of environmental investigations, not every property in the area may need to be tested to investigate the extent of PFAS.
The location of future sample/test sites is informed by the data gathered and the technical information needed to progress investigations.
How long will the FRNSW sampling team need to be at my property to take samples?
The FRNSW sampling team will need to be at your property for between 30 minutes and an hour. The time needed will depend on the number of samples that need to be collected on the property.
Please note that the landholder (or their representative) needs to be present at the property to assist with safe access (e.g. ensuring pets or livestock are secured, gates unlocked, electric fencing is turned off etc) for the sampling team.
How long will it take to receive my test results?
From the time the samples are collected from your property, it may take from 3-5 weeks for results to be provided. Before results are provided, the samples are analysed by the laboratory, verified and technically analysed against other test results and field data collected by the technical team, as part of undertaking the investigation.
What screening levels are used in FRNSW environmental investigations?
Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has recommended final health based guidance values for perfluorooctane sulfonate [external link] (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid [external link] (PFOA) in the form of a tolerable daily intake (TDI). A TDI is a level of daily oral exposure over a lifetime that is considered to be without significant health risk for humans.
Further information on the health based guidance values for PFOS and PFOA can be found on the Department of Health and Aged Care’s website here [external link].
How can I find out more and be kept informed about FRNSW environmental investigations?
FRNSW will update the community throughout environmental investigations. This will include:
- Project website updates including updates to frequently asked questions
- Community information sessions as required
- Project updates/fact sheets
- Direct liaison with property owners where sampling is occurring.
For more information, please contact the project team.