Council working with Defence after PFAS detected at Forest Hill Sewage Treatment Plant

Published: 07 Aug 2018 10:59am

Wagga Wagga City Council has initiated discussions with the Department of Defence and EPA after PFAS contamination was detected at the Forest Hill Sewage Treatment Plant.

Council believes that the PFAS contamination in the effluent is sourced from the PFAS contamination at the RAAF base.

The Department of Defence has been overseeing PFAS contamination investigations in the Forest Hill area for some time.

The identification of contamination in the effluent at the Forest Hill Sewage Treatment Plant is a significant issue for Council.

The NSW EPA has directed that Council must not discharge the contaminated effluent from the treatment plant.

Based on the expected volume of effluent being treated and expected weather conditions Council believes that it has the capacity to store up to 18 months of effluent.

This means that a solution must be found to problem within this time frame.

Councillors were briefed on the problem yesterday and the issue was raised with representatives from the Department of Defence at a Council workshop last night.

Council confirmed that it was looking to the Department of Defence to identify a solution and the representatives from the Department of Defence confirmed that they would work closely with Council to address the problem.

PFAS is a chemical historically used in fire-fighting foams; it is slow to break down in the environment and has become an issue concerning numerous communities across Australia.

In June the Department of Defence released a Detailed Site Investigation at RAAF Base Wagga into PFAS contamination and found it has migrated into ground water and surface water.

Forest Hill Sewage Treatment Plant is essential WWCC infrastructure used to treat the waste intake from the Forest Hill residential area and RAAF Base Wagga.

Council has no information at this time to suggest that there is any risk to ground water or public health arising from the contaminated effluent at the treatment plant as the treated effluent is contained at the within the storage ponds.