More tests for chemicals at Navy base


WESTERN Port residents are awaiting the results of the second stage of a detailed environmental investigation into the presence of carcinogenic chemicals in surface water at HMAS Cerberus, Crib Point.

If the tests prove positive to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a health and ecological risk assessment “may” be required, a defence spokesman said.

“This assessment will evaluate potential risks to the human population and ecology, and inform actions to mitigate risks.”

The second round of testing follows the first stage which reviewed the historic use of firefighting foams at the base to identify PFAS sources, possible runoff routes and plants and animals that could have ingested it.

It is believed signs of PFAS contamination were found in surface water samples.

The latest testing will involve sampling and analysing soil, surface water, sediment, groundwater and vegetation on the base and at properties nearby.

Soil and groundwater samples have already been taken and bores are being prepared for sampling, the spokesperson said.

Further information was collected through a water-use survey of nearby residents and businesses within one kilometre of the base to learn how they used water.

“Once the sampling is complete and results are analysed a detailed report will be prepared and shared with relevant government and regulatory bodies as well as the community. The report is expected to be completed mid-2018.”

Defence was trialling PFAS management techniques, such as water treatments, drain maintenance, and soil solidification and stabilisation trials, the spokesman said.

It is also “monitoring research around the world to ensure that it is aware of new advances in technology and methodology”.

First published in the Western Port News – 24 October 2017


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