Greenacre Site - Environmental investigation


FRNSW has engaged GHD Pty Ltd (GHD) to undertake an environmental investigation into the presence of PFAS on, and in the vicinity of, FRNSW’s Greenacre site.
The investigation is part of a review of a number of our sites across NSW where legacy firefighting foams containing PFAS have been stored, used and disposed of.

PFAS is a class of manufactured chemicals generally present in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) which was used extensively worldwide from the 1970s due to its effectiveness in fighting liquid fuel fires.

The term PFAS relates to a large number of compounds. The primary PFAS compounds of interest to the investigation include perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).  FRNSW’s preliminary sampling focused on these compounds as guideline values exist and they have been deemed important to assessing risk.
The firefighting foams now used by FRNSW are more environmentally sensitive and do not contain PFOS or PFOA.

Preliminary Investigation

The preliminary investigation commenced in June 2016 and was completed in February 2017. Some of the objectives of this initial investigation included:

  • reviewing site history for AFFF use and identifying potential sources of PFAS
  • investigating and modelling how PFAS moves through the environment
  • sampling and laboratory analysis of groundwater, surface water, soils and sediments.

FRNSW now have results back which confirm PFAS is present in environmental samples collected. In some cases, levels are above the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) health based guidance values.

The full report can be found here. (PDF, 16.2MB)

Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA)

A detailed assessment of the Greenacre site commenced in June 2017. The overall objective of this investigation was to further delineate the PFAS impacts identified during the preliminary investigations and to confirm surface water flow directions on the site.

Laboratory analyses indicated the presence of PFAS in all media sampled (soils, sediment, concrete, leachate, surface water and groundwater) and a number of locations report concentrations above the relevant screening criteria for the protection of human health and/ or ecological receptors.

The Greenacre site is located in an industrial area and is covered in concrete hardstand. Groundwater is not extracted at the site nor off-site for any beneficial purpose (including recreation and/or stock watering). Additionally, the groundwater in the region is relatively saline, and there is a reliable mains supply of water. The likelihood of groundwater being used as a potable water source is considered to be low.

Elevated PFAS concentrations were reported in three on-site groundwater wells. The extent and source of this impact is not fully understood and further investigation is required to understand the extent of impact including off-site migration.

Further assessment to understand the possible sources of PFAS (current and historic) across the site are required to enable the development of practical management options for the site.

FRNSW will continue to work closely with the EPA, other agencies and the community to develop strategies to minimise further migration of PFAS and to continually assess the risk to human populations and ecosystems.

The full Phase 2 report can be found here (PDF, 19MB)

This website provides specific information relevant to the Greenacre investigation. Visit the EPA website for more background information relating to PFAS and the wider investigation program across NSW.

For enquiries related to this investigation please refer to the contacts page.

Consulting with stakeholders

FRNSW is committed to being open and transparent about these investigations. We will update the community at key stages throughout the investigations, and we encourage the community to contact to us about their concerns.

More Information

Phone contact through the 1800 number, direct mail, and fact sheets will provide further support to assist with information access as the investigation progresses.

Contact details can be found here.

Further information on PFAS and the PFAS investigation program being undertaken by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) can be found on the EPA website at

If you would like to talk to the NSW EPA please call the Environment Line on 131 555.

Information on PFAS health effects and exposure pathways can be found on the Department of Health’s website at.

Greenacre – Documentation

This page contains links to reports which have been prepared by independent consultants engaged by FRNSW. The following is a list of reports relevant to this project. Report are provided in full.

The Sampling Analysis and Quality Report was released in November 2016.

Greenacre Sampling Analysis and Quality Plan – GHD (PDF, 19.9MB)

Greenacre Preliminary Investigation Report - GHD (PDF, 16.2MB)

Greenacre Phase 2 GHD Environmental Site Assessment (PDF, 19MB)