Dangerous levels of PFAS have been found in rivers, creeks, soil and dust surrounding RAAF Base Amberley.
Dangerous levels of PFAS have been found in rivers, creeks, soil and dust surrounding RAAF Base Amberley. Contributed

Damning results delivered after PFAS investigation

DANGEROUS levels of PFAS have been found in rivers, creeks, soil and dust surrounding RAAF Base Amberley.

A Detailed Site Investigation involved the collection and analysis of 428 soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater samples to understand the nature and extent of PFAS contamination on and around the base.

The findings identified 29 primary source areas on-base which are contributing to PFAS migration into the environment through surface water and groundwater.

It found PFAS was moving off the base via drains, in groundwater and from the sewage treatment plant.

"This movement has resulted in the wide-spread distribution of PFAS off-base within the immediate area in soil, sediment and surface water," the report noted.

Defence's investigation revealed damning results into the levels of PFAS in water bodies, soil and dust surrounding the growing military base.

The highest concentrations of the chemicals in surface water and sediment occur east and south of the base in the Bremer River and Warrill Creek. Tests found the levels consistently exceed drinking water guidelines.

PFAS was found in groundwater off-base south of Warrill Creek, and north of the confluence of the Bremer River and Warrill Creek.

The investigation confirmed PFAS in soil within floodplains around the base.

It was also found in private surface water storages, such as farm dams and tanks south and east of the base, which are used for irrigation and stock watering.

Thirteen edible fish species were caught from seven sites.

PFAS concentrations found in the fish exceeded the food standards trigger levels.

The Queensland Government has already issued health advice recommending people should "not consume fish caught in the Bremer River or Warrill Creek near RAAF Base Amberley".

The base sewage treatment plant, which is discharged in treated effluent to Frogs Hollow Gully and then to Warrill Creek, was a major primary source of PFAS, along with fire training areas and hangars.

PFAS is used in products that resist heat, oil, stains and water.

The release of it into the environment became a concern when authorities learned the chemicals can persist in humans and animals.



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