Launceston

Various entities have provided aviation rescue and fire fighting services at Launceston Airport since 1946. Airservices has provided these services at the airport since 1995.

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 Launceston 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 Launceston 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.

A Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) in 2019 found the presence of PFAS near where aviation rescue and fire fighting activities were carried out at the airport. PFAS detections in groundwater on-airport exceeded the adopted human health and ecological criteria, although the PSI noted that TasWater supplies reticulated public drinking water to Launceston Airport and surrounding area. The PFAS detections in soil and sediment were below the adopted human health criteria. One soil sample exceeded the adopted ecological criteria.

We are currently undertaking a Detailed Site investigation (DSI), and this is expected to be completed in 2023.

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.

Activities at Launceston Airport include:

  • Cleaning of the stormwater drains at the main fire station to remove sediment which may contain PFAS
  • Regular drain inspections at the former fire training ground
  • Ongoing annual monitoring of groundwater and surface water at on-airport and off-airport locations
  • Planning for the removal of above-ground storage tanks from the former fire training ground, which have been used to store wastewater that may contain PFAS.

We have initiated remediation of the defunct fire fighting training ground. This is expected to involve excavation and removal of soil and infrastructure impacted by PFAS, and the safe disposal of these materials. We will then refill and revegetate the works area. We expect to commence works in early 2023 and anticipate that they will take approximately 12 months to complete.

The information obtained from the DSI will inform next steps in the management or remediation of our sites at Launceston Airport.

We collaborate with relevant Australian and State Government environmental and health regulators and Launceston Airport as part of an evidence-led approach to the responsible management of PFAS.

Various entities have provided aviation rescue and fire fighting services at Launceston Airport since 1946. Airservices has provided these services at the airport since 1995.

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 Launceston 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 Launceston 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.

A Preliminary Site Investigation (PSI) in 2019 found the presence of PFAS near where aviation rescue and fire fighting activities were carried out at the airport. PFAS detections in groundwater on-airport exceeded the adopted human health and ecological criteria, although the PSI noted that TasWater supplies reticulated public drinking water to Launceston Airport and surrounding area. The PFAS detections in soil and sediment were below the adopted human health criteria. One soil sample exceeded the adopted ecological criteria.

We are currently undertaking a Detailed Site investigation (DSI), and this is expected to be completed in 2023.

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.

Activities at Launceston Airport include:

  • Cleaning of the stormwater drains at the main fire station to remove sediment which may contain PFAS
  • Regular drain inspections at the former fire training ground
  • Ongoing annual monitoring of groundwater and surface water at on-airport and off-airport locations
  • Planning for the removal of above-ground storage tanks from the former fire training ground, which have been used to store wastewater that may contain PFAS.

We have initiated remediation of the defunct fire fighting training ground. This is expected to involve excavation and removal of soil and infrastructure impacted by PFAS, and the safe disposal of these materials. We will then refill and revegetate the works area. We expect to commence works in early 2023 and anticipate that they will take approximately 12 months to complete.

The information obtained from the DSI will inform next steps in the management or remediation of our sites at Launceston Airport.

We collaborate with relevant Australian and State Government environmental and health regulators and Launceston Airport as part of an evidence-led approach to the responsible management of PFAS.

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Page last updated: 13 Feb 2023, 10:09 AM