PREVIOUS SITE: The former Caltex Depot is located in the Kingaroy Industrial Estate.
PREVIOUS SITE: The former Caltex Depot is located in the Kingaroy Industrial Estate. Laura Blackmore

CONTAMINATED: Kingaroy named as one of 60 places on list

A LOCATION in Kingaroy has been named as one of 60 sites across Queensland that's been allegedly contaminated by chemicals.

Per- and poly fluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, has been used since the 1950s in a range of common household products and speciality applications.

As well as consumer products, PFAS have also been previously used in some industrial processes, including in certain types of firefighting foams.

The ABC reported the former Caltex Depot in Kingaroy as one of the places identified by authorities to be contaminated by the chemical, in information obtained from the Department of Environment and Science under the Right to Information Act.

A representative from the Department of Environment and Science said they were tracking a number of sites in Queensland where the potential for PFAS at higher levels may exist.

"The lists of sites currently being reported in media are where PFAS has been identified, but this does not necessarily mean PFAS guidelines have been exceeded," they said.

"Under Queensland environment legislation, responsible entities for contaminated sites must meet their General Environmental Duty.

"This includes carrying out detailed investigation, assessment and risk management when the nature and extent of contamination are not known."

The representative said Queensland was a leader in the management of PFAS after implementing new laws that compel a polluter to notify the public if there are any health risks associated with their pollution.

 

The former Caltex Depot side.
The former Caltex Depot was named in the article shared by the ABC. Laura Blackmore

"The Queensland Government was the first government in Australia to ban the future use of firefighting foam containing PFOS and PFOA in July 2016," they said.

"It has implemented a policy to phase out stocks of firefighting foam containing these chemicals."

In 2018, the Queensland Government launched an industry program to educate operators about the environmental risks associated with PFAS firefighting foams and support their transition under the policy.

During 2018 and 2019, environmental officers across Queensland conducted more than 150 industry site visits to provide educational support to assist operators in adopting more sustainable products and practices.

The DES representative said the general public was exposed to small amounts of PFAS in everyday life.

However, when these PFAS amounts are small and under the national guidelines they are not considered to be a risk.

At the moment the sites currently being reported in media are where PFAS has been identified, but does not necessarily mean PFAS guidelines have been exceeded.

Caltex has been contacted for comment.

More information to come.