Avalon Airport is working closely with a range of Government agencies, including the Department of Defence (as the land owner), the Environmental Protection Authority of Victoria (EPA) and Airservices Australia, in relation to PFAS management in our operational services areas within the Avalon Airport precinct.
What are PFASs?
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, also known as “PFASs”, are chemicals that are, or have been, used in a wide variety of applications such as textiles and leather products, cookware, food packaging, floor polishes and in some types of fire-fighting foams.
Historically, fire-fighting foam containing two commonly used PFASs – Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) – was used by Airservices Australia’s Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF). The known use by ARFF of PFASs was phased out at Avalon Airport in 2010.
As PFASs have been found to be persistent and to accumulate in the environment, a precautionary approach is taken by Government agencies regarding management of this issue. Avalon Airport supports this approach and complies with all relevant guidance and direction from regulators on PFAS management.
PFAS is an emerging national and international issue, and understanding continues to grow as further work is done by researchers, industry and regulators on how best to evaluate and manage these chemicals.
How is Avalon Airport Managing PFASs?
As with many Commonwealth-leased airports, firefighting foams containing PFAS were used at Avalon Airport. Unfortunately, firefighting foams (containing PFAS) are a multi-decadal legacy of practice at Commonwealth Airports.
We are regularly testing for the presence of PFASs across the Avalon Airport site alongside Airservices Australia to minimise the risk to staff and tenants.