While many airports and firefighting facilities have transitioned to firefighting foams that don’t contain perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), sources tell us that there are still some industries that use them.
Firefighting foams containing PFOS and PFOA were used extensively at Williamtown RAAF from the 1970s.
Used foam was allowed to run off into the porous sand beds and enter the aquifer, leading to the current contamination of the water supply and a ban on commercial fishing in the area.
Despite an international alert in 2003 from the makers of the foam to phase out the use of this product,it is understood that Defence only began that phase out process in 2008.
Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington said that the current State Government needs to develop a plan to phase out the use of these chemicals.