Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of man-made chemicals which do not occur naturally in the environment. PFAS compounds have been used since the 1950s as ingredients for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications including fire-fighting foams, non-stick cookware, garment and carpet surface protection treatments, and metal plating. The two most commonly used PFAS compounds are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).
Water environments such as rivers, lakes, bays and groundwater can become polluted when chemical or physical contaminants are present at levels that cause harm to aquatic ecosystems. In Victoria, we use standards from the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality which are designed to protect aquatic ecosystems. These guidelines are currently being reviewed. As part of that review, draft standards for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – are the first to have been finalised. As the revised standards will not be part of legislation in Victoria until 2018, EPA Victoria has recently published interim guidance on the draft standards for PFOS and PFOA and their recommended application (Information Bulletin 1633).
Potential for PFAS contamination at sites where the applications listed above have been conducted or materials containing PFAS have been disposed should be considered as part of site contamination assessments.
For enquiries regarding our contamination assessment services, please call Damien Chappell on 03-5222 4173 or Nick Mara on 03-9646 0833. With offices in Melbourne and Geelong, Landserv can provide the service you need, where and when you need it.