Government departments handballing PFAS queries

GOVERNMENT departments are handballing concerns about PFAS contamination to one another.

The Defence Department is undertaking an investigation into PFAS contamination at RAAF Amberley Base but has been hesitant in some cases to publicise information.

PFAS chemicals were present in firefighting foam used on-base and present a potential health risk.

In June, Queensland Health made an announcement warning residents not to eat fish caught in either Bremer River or Warrill Creek.

The announcement was made weeks after test results were returned on samples, showing fish contained levels of PFAS exceeding the safe standards for human consumption.

Despite Defence being the lead agency on the issue the announcement was not made jointly and Queensland Health insiders say advice was provided several times recommending the Defence Department go public.

This week, Defence directed queries about the erection of signage along Ipswich waterways to Ipswich City Council.

The council offered to assist in erecting the warning signs but a council representative said ultimately "responsibility for warning signs rests with the Department of Defence and Queensland Health".

In a later query, a Defence representative confirmed the Federal department would pay for the production and erection of signs but said "any further queries should be directed to the council".

This sign will be erected along the Bremer River and Warrill Creek, warning people not to eat fish caught in either waterway as testing has shown high levels of PFAS chemcials.
This sign will be erected along the Bremer River and Warrill Creek, warning people not to eat fish caught in either waterway as testing has shown high levels of PFAS chemcials.

Emails seen by the QT show environmental expert and Ipswich resident Dr Bill Freeland has been bounced between the council and the Defence Department on a query regarding PFAS warning signage.

He is now waiting on a response from the council after the query was sent back by Defence.

In June, Dr Freeland called on authorities to place warning signs along the waterways, warning people of the potential health risks saying a short-term letter box drop is "inadequate".

The Defence investigation is ongoing.



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