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June 19, 2024

PFAS found in Mullumbimby groundwater

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Dr Mariann Lloyd Smith is an expert on PFAS

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is doorknocking and talking to residents in the Mullumbimby area after Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) were found in groundwater.

PFAS are a large, complex group of synthetic chemicals that have been used in consumer products around the world since about the 1950s. They are ingredients in various everyday products, but are known as ‘forever chemicals’ as they are extremely persistent in our environment and bodies. PFAS can lead to health problems such as liver damage, thyroid disease, obesity, fertility issues and cancer – PFAS are banned in many countries.

The EPA and Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) undertook a door knock of 12 properties southwest of the fire station on Monday.

Additionally, EPA staff will be out and about in the area this week door knocking around 68 properties as part of a precautionary approach to understanding more about groundwater use in the area.

No immediate health risk to residents

EPA Director of Regulatory Operations David Gathercole said there isn’t an immediate health risk to residents as all properties in the nearby area are connected to town water, which continues to be safe to use.

‘The town water is safe to drink but residents using groundwater should take precautions that limit possible exposure until further testing is completed,’ said Mr Gathercole

The precautions include:

• Avoid using groundwater, bore water or surface water for drinking, cooking or personal hygiene.
• Avoid eating home grown food produced using groundwater.
  Avoid swallowing groundwater and filling swimming pools with groundwater.

Mr Gathercole said the EPA understands residents may have questions and concerns and want to provide them with helpful information and advice. ‘We’ll be asking them about their groundwater use and sampling will be offered to residents in the area of the doorknock.

Mr Gathercole said the sampling will also assist us to better understand PFAS in the area.

The EPA’s media release said that the good news is that no PFAS has been detected in the local creeks or in the Brunswick River so recreational activities can continue, this includes boating, fishing, canoeing and swimming.

‘We will continue to keep the community informed while sampling is ongoing. Residents can also contact the EPA on Environment Line on 131 555 or email [email protected].

‘Updates will be available on our website.’


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1 COMMENT

  1. Maybe it’s from the Fire station where they use the foam which contains PFAS chemical. Check out the doco “How To Poison a Planet “, demonstrates how a community on the South Coast have been exposed to this forever chemical from the nearby RAAF base they used the foam that contains the PFAS chemical.

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