Ayers Rock

Airservices has provided aviation rescue and fire fighting services at Ayers Rock Airport (also known as Connellan Airport) since 2004. No other such services were based at the airport prior to this time.

PFAS and fire fighting foam

PFAS stands for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, which are manufactured chemicals used in products that resist heat, oil, stains and water. They have been widely used since the 1950s in common household products, as well as commercial industrial applications such as fire fighting foams.

When Airservices became aware of the potential environmental impacts of PFAS in the early 2000s, we transitioned away from their use. We have used PFAS-free foam at Ayers Rock Airport since 2010.

Site investigations

As part of Airservices' National PFAS Management Program, we are undertaking site investigations to determine the nature and extent of PFAS at Ayers Rock Airport.

Site investigations have included sampling of soil, groundwater and surface water, using adopted criteria for ecological and human health to assess the levels of PFAS. Sites tested include the fire station, fire training ground, former interim fire station and the sewage treatment plant discharge area.

We completed preliminary sampling and a Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) in 2017. The PSI detected PFAS inside the airport boundary, near the leased sites where we conducted our aviation rescue and fire fighting activities. PFAS detections in soil were classified as low risk.

In 2019, we undertook a subsequent targeted on-airport groundwater investigation to provide an initial assessment of the potential for PFAS to impact on local groundwater quality. The investigation detected a low level of PFAS in groundwater near the former fire training ground, with results below the adopted human health criteria for drinking water. The report determined that the risk to human health or environmental receptors was low.

We are currently undertaking a further Targeted Site investigation (TSI) and this is expected to be completed in 2023. The TSI is reviewing all available hydrogeological information to validate the previous investigation findings of a low risk to users of groundwater. This includes groundwater testing of existing wells.

We will undertake a Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) if more information is required.

Management and remediation

We manage legacy PFAS through our National PFAS Management Program to ensure the safety of our people and the communities and environment in which we operate.

The information obtained from the TSI will inform next steps in the management or remediation of our sites at Ayers Rock Airport.

We continue to collaborate with relevant Territory environmental and health regulators and Ayers Rock Airport as part of an evidence-led approach to the responsible management of PFAS.

Airservices has provided aviation rescue and fire fighting services at Ayers Rock Airport (also known as Connellan Airport) since 2004. No other such services were based at the airport prior to this time.

PFAS and fire fighting foam

PFAS stands for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, which are manufactured chemicals used in products that resist heat, oil, stains and water. They have been widely used since the 1950s in common household products, as well as commercial industrial applications such as fire fighting foams.

When Airservices became aware of the potential environmental impacts of PFAS in the early 2000s, we transitioned away from their use. We have used PFAS-free foam at Ayers Rock Airport since 2010.

Site investigations

As part of Airservices' National PFAS Management Program, we are undertaking site investigations to determine the nature and extent of PFAS at Ayers Rock Airport.

Site investigations have included sampling of soil, groundwater and surface water, using adopted criteria for ecological and human health to assess the levels of PFAS. Sites tested include the fire station, fire training ground, former interim fire station and the sewage treatment plant discharge area.

We completed preliminary sampling and a Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) in 2017. The PSI detected PFAS inside the airport boundary, near the leased sites where we conducted our aviation rescue and fire fighting activities. PFAS detections in soil were classified as low risk.

In 2019, we undertook a subsequent targeted on-airport groundwater investigation to provide an initial assessment of the potential for PFAS to impact on local groundwater quality. The investigation detected a low level of PFAS in groundwater near the former fire training ground, with results below the adopted human health criteria for drinking water. The report determined that the risk to human health or environmental receptors was low.

We are currently undertaking a further Targeted Site investigation (TSI) and this is expected to be completed in 2023. The TSI is reviewing all available hydrogeological information to validate the previous investigation findings of a low risk to users of groundwater. This includes groundwater testing of existing wells.

We will undertake a Detailed Site Investigation (DSI) if more information is required.

Management and remediation

We manage legacy PFAS through our National PFAS Management Program to ensure the safety of our people and the communities and environment in which we operate.

The information obtained from the TSI will inform next steps in the management or remediation of our sites at Ayers Rock Airport.

We continue to collaborate with relevant Territory environmental and health regulators and Ayers Rock Airport as part of an evidence-led approach to the responsible management of PFAS.

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Page last updated: 13 Feb 2023, 10:06 AM