News Item

No PFAS detected in Cobaki Broadwater seafood testing

21 Mar 2017

Airservices today released the results from its seafood sampling program conducted in the Cobaki Broadwater adjacent to the Gold Coast Airport.

The results showed that in all seafood samples taken in late January, concentrations of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were below the detection limit for PFAS, meaning they were not detected.

The testing was conducted by independent environmental consultant, GHD Pty Ltd in consultation with New South Wales Environment Protection Authority and Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries.

Key conclusions from the GHD report include:

  • The risk to humans from consumption of fish, crustaceans and molluscs collected from Cobaki Broadwater is considered to be negligible.
  • Generally, the concentrations of PFAS found in the samples for water, sediments and bore-water were below the detection limit for PFAS, i.e. were not detected.

The work follows a preliminary site investigation conducted at Gold Coast Airport in July 2016, which showed low levels of PFOS and PFOA at the airport boundary in soil and groundwater samples, and no PFAS detects in surface water samples from the Cobaki Broadwater.

Airservices conducted the seafood sampling program to better understand human consumption of fish caught in the Cobaki Broadwater as a potential PFAS exposure pathway. This work is part of the broader investigation into any impacts that can be attributed to the historical use of PFAS-containing fire fighting foam.

The sampling which took several days, investigated sediment, surface water and seafood species within the Cobaki Broadwater area, adjacent to the airport. The sampling included five sediment samples, five surface water samples and collection of seafood species for testing.

Airservices has shared the results with the relevant Commonwealth and State environmental and health regulators and Gold Coast Airport Pty Ltd as part of our ongoing work with these stakeholders in taking a risk-based approach to responsibly managing PFAS concerns at the Gold Coast Airport.

Airservices is committed to ensuring the safety of human health. While recent testing results on the airport boundary detected low levels of PFAS, Airservices is commissioning a sampling program on the north-eastern side of the airport to test local spear bores off airport and testing along the Coolangatta Creek. Airservices recognises there may be concerns by local residents and is therefore undertaking further work to address these concerns.

The full Gold Coast Airport Biota Sampling Report can be viewed on the Airservices website.

For more information: Airservices Australia – http://www.airservicesaustralia.com/environment/firefightingfoam/

Local residents seeking specific health advice should talk to their GP. Further information on PFAS related issues can be found at:

Queensland: https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/management/investigation-pfas/ or call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

New South Wales http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/MediaInformation/pfcinvestigation.htm or the Environment Line on 131 555.