Ground water contamination at RAAF Base Williamtown

Preliminary tests have identified perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in ground water south of Williamtown RAAF Base and Newcastle Airport. These substances have also been identified in Tilligerry Creek and Fullerton Cove and some aquatic life in these waterways.

Defence is aware that the NSW Government issued a media release today recommending that residents in the affected area avoid drinking bore water, eating fish caught from the Tilligerry Creek or Fullerton Cove or consuming eggs from backyard chickens on those properties in the area. 

The health and safety of people who reside near our bases and Defence personnel who work, or have worked, at these bases is a high priority for Defence. Despite extensive research, scientific studies into the possible human health impacts are inconclusive.

Anyone with any health related concerns is urged to contact the NSW Department of Health or their local doctor.

Defence is committed to working with other Federal and State government departments to further investigate the possible human and environmental impacts associated with the historical use of fire-fighting foams known to contain active ingredients of PFOS and PFOA.

Defence continues to monitor its estate and to review its historical practices to identify possible land or groundwater contamination.

Any management and remediation of identified contamination will be risk-based with priority on protection of human health and the environment.

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