Tarro - Environmental Investigation


In September 2019, Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) became aware of historical aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) training activities conducted near its Tarro Fire Station located at 8 Eastern Avenue, Tarro, in the Hunter region.

Anecdotal reports indicate that legacy AFFF, containing per- and fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), was applied to the ground in a previously vacant lot at the rear (north and west) of the fire station many years ago. This site is now occupied by the Our Lady of Lourdes (OLOL) Primary School, Tarro.

A detailed site investigation (DSI) conducted at OLOL Primary School in 2019 did not identify any elevated risk of PFAS exposure onsite but did identify that PFAS was likely to be migrating further offsite via stormwater and groundwater. However, as a precaution FRNSW installed new turf at OLOL Primary School to reduce the risk of exposure to PFAS.

FRNSW undertook a Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment (HHERA) in March 2020 which identified potential elevated exposure risk for ecological receptors in Tarro Reserve.

As a result, an ongoing monitoring program was implemented to measure offsite stormwater and groundwater over time in the reserve area. This information will be used to inform whether further activities are required to manage potential off-site risk.

Next steps

A fauna habitat assessment and species use survey was undertaken in 2023 at the Tarro Recreation Lake Area to gather more information and to inform any management works that may be required upgradient to the site

The New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) continues to monitor FRNSW’s progress and provide expert advice to ensure an appropriate scientific and risk-based approach is followed.

To find out more information please email FRNSW at: pfasinvestigation@fire.nsw.gov.au 


Fauna Habitat Assessment and Species Utilisation study (PDF)