The EPA is leading an investigation program to assess the legacy of PFAS use across NSW. With the assistance of the NSW PFAS Technical Advisory Group, which includes NSW Health, Department of Primary Industries and the Office of Environment and Heritage, we provide impacted residents with tailored, precautionary dietary advice to help them reduce any exposure to PFAS.
Current investigations are focused on sites where it is likely that large quantities of PFAS have been used. The EPA is currently investigating PFAS at these sites:
Sampling and analysis
The EPA is collecting samples of soils and/or waters for analysis for PFAS. The EPA is also looking for exposure pathways that may increase people’s contact with the chemicals, such as bore and surface water usage.
If significant levels are detected and human or ecological exposure is likely, a more detailed assessment will be undertaken.
The EPA will work with the occupiers and owners of these sites, or the responsible parties, to clean-up the site, where necessary.
Timeframes for the investigation
The initial investigations can take approximately six months, with further testing undertaken where required.
Test findings are made available throughout the investigations.
More information is available on the NSW EPA PFAS investigation process page.
Release of draft PFAS National Environmental Management Plan version 3
The PFAS National Environmental Management Plan (PFAS NEMP) provides a practical basis for nationally consistent environmental guidelines and standards for investigating, assessing and managing PFAS waste and contamination.
The Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) has now released the draft PFAS NEMP version 3.0 (NEMP 3.0).
NEMP 3.0 builds on previous versions and includes additional guidance on the following priority areas:
- Theme 1: PFAS family – international approaches to grouping of PFASs.
- Theme 2: Environmental data and monitoring - guidance on ambient monitoring data collection and land use classifications to enable comparability.
- Theme 3: Water- risk-based criteria and guidance for beneficial reuse of biosolids.
- Theme 4: Soil - guidance and standards around PFAS behaviour in soil, including leaching and associated ecological and human health guidance. It finalises and reviews two guideline values already in the NEMP and proposes two new guideline values for soil and one for wildlife diet.
- Theme 5: Resource recovery and waste - guidance on management of risks associated with PFAS in resource recovery products.
- Theme 6: Site specific guidance - guidance on principles and approaches to remediation and management; guidance on construction water; and guidance on estuarine, coastal and marine sediment.
Have your say on NEMP 3.0
You can provide feedback on NEMP 3.0 by lodging a submission online, or by attending a public consultation session.
You feedback will help to ensure that NEMP 3.0 is fit for purpose in continuing to provide useful and nationally consistent guidance and standards on PFAS contamination.
All feedback received will be considered by the National Chemicals Working Group before NEMP 3.0 is finalised. An ancillary document summarising the feedback and the responses made is expected to be published by DCCEEW.
Online public consultation is currently underway and will be available until 4pm AEDT 20 December 2022.
You can find more information about submitting feedback online on the DCCEEW page.
NSW consultation session
We will publish more information about our public consultation session on this page when it becomes available.
Working with our stakeholders
The NSW Government is committed to working closely with all relevant government agencies, to closely monitor the progress of investigations, and to keep local communities informed. Government agencies include local councils, NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Health, NSW Food Authority, and where necessary the Commonwealth Department of Defence, and Commonwealth Department of Health.
In NSW the polluter pays for and manages any clean-up required. Although the NSW Government cannot regulate Defence sites, it has outlined expectations that Defence will carry out investigations in a timely manner that is consistent with the EPA’s requirements and processes.