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Parliamentary Questions

Question On Notice No. 2318 asked in the Legislative Council on 6 August 2019 by Hon Charles Smith

Question Directed to the: Minister for Environment
Minister responding: Hon S.N. Dawson
Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Question

In reference to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination of the Gnangara Mound, I ask:
(a) what are the PFAS readings of the bores located in the market gardens, surrounding the highly contaminated site of Gingin Satellite Airfield, all of which supply produce to the wider community of Western Australia; and
(b) will the Minister please also supply the PFAS results from the produce within these market gardens?

Answered on 3 September 2019

Gingin Satellite Airfield falls within Commonwealth jurisdiction. In accordance with the principles of the Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Framework for Responding to PFAS Contamination, the Department of Defence (DoD) is responsible for carrying out investigations and risk assessments to manage the risks associated with PFAS impacts at Gingin Satellite Airfield, both on and off the airfield. To provide you with some background that may assist you in your inquiries, the Western Australian Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) provided the following:

(a)-(b)  A number of properties used for growing soft fruit (strawberries) and/or vegetables for commercial sale lie approximately one kilometre to the east of the airfield boundary.

DWER has been advised that investigations carried out by the DoD have confirmed that groundwater flow direction at the airfield is towards the west south-west (i.e. away from all properties to the east). The DoD has informed DWER that bore water samples were collected from properties, that are also to the east, but closer to the airfield than the market gardens. PFAS was not detected in any of the bore water samples from these closer properties. Given the groundwater flow direction and the sampling results, the DoD did not consider it necessary to collect groundwater samples from the market gardens, or to sample produce.

There are no market gardens or primary producers located to the west or south-west of Gingin Satellite Airfield, within a distance of 15 km of the airfield.