PFAS response

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is assisting the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) who is leading the NSW Government’s response to PFAS contamination.

Per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals that include perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS).

DPI provides technical support on fisheries, biosecurity, food safety, hydrological and groundwater management issues to EPA as part of the Government’s response.

More information on the EPA's statewide PFAS investigation program is available on the EPA's website.

Release of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Report

The Commonwealth Government released the Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s (FSANZ) review into the national exposure guidelines for PFAS on Monday 3 April 2017.

The FSANZ review provides guidance on the level or tolerable daily intake (TDI) to inform appropriate consumption of food or water containing PFAS. The new guidelines endorse lower levels for PFAS than the Australian Government’s previous interim enHealth guidelines.

DPI will work with other agencies to assist affected landowners and industry to understand the new recommendations and impacts at affected sites across NSW.

Fisheries

Williamtown

All Hunter waterways remain open for commercial fishing, including the Hunter River Estuary, Tilligerry Creek and Fullerton Cove, following the release of the FSANZ report. This follows examination of the outcomes by the Williamtown Expert Panel which has indicated closures of the fisheries are not required.

Previous restrictions on Dusky Flathead for commercial fishers were lifted on 18 April 2017, due to further data and analysis being completed.

Recommendations from the Williamtown Expert Panel also include changes to dietary advice on specific seafood species, including a reduction in the number of serves for some species.

People who personally source and eat fish and seafood from the Hunter River Estuary, Fullerton Cove and Tilligerry Creek, such as fishers and local residents, should limit the number of servings of individual species

Dietary advice

Specific dietary advice is available on the EPA website.

Tamworth

As part of the NSW government's response to PFAS contamination at various sites across the state, sampling of fish for PFAS has been completed in the Peel River, downstream from the Jewry Road Bridge at Tamworth.

Following the detection of low levels of PFAS in some species, the NSW Government is recommending that people who personally source and eat fish from this area, such as fishers and local residents, should limit the number of servings of individual species . Advice applies to fish caught from the whole of the waters of the Peel River and its tributaries downstream of Jewry St weir to the road crossing at Appleby Lane, including Wallamore Anabranch and Bolton’s Creek catchment.

Dietary advice