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Media Release: Joint investigation into fire-fighting foam presence

08 Apr 2016

The Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Health have joined forces to undertake preliminary investigations into the presence of fire-fighting foams at more than 20 locations in the Darwin City area.

The chair of the NT EPA, Dr Bill Freeland, said PFCs, including Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOA),  were derived from fire-fighting foams that were no longer used.

“Sampling results indicate the presence of the chemicals at several locations at concentrations that warrant further investigation. Concentrations in Rapid and Ludmilla Creeks are elevated, although these remain below interim draft surface water ecological, and recreational water guidelines (2015) levels,” he said.

Additional sampling would be undertaken in consultation with the Department of Defence and Darwin International Airport to provide greater understanding of the sources and concentrations of PFCs in sediments and water in the Darwin Region, Dr Freeland added.

The investigation would provide a basis for assessing any public health or environmental concerns.

“The NT EPA is also conducting a review of sites in the Northern Territory where PFCs may have been released to the environment, including waste-disposal areas, industrial and manufacturing facilities, aviation sites and places where fire-fighting foams have been stored and or used,” Dr Freeland said.

Media contact: Helen Farquhar 0437 458 213