WARNING: Toxic chemicals detected in more Ipswich creeks

PRECAUTIONARY advice not to eat fish caught in local waterways has been expanded.

Queensland Health has advised residents not to eat fish caught in the Swanbank sections of Bundamba Creek and Oaky Creek, after preliminary water samples were found to contain per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

More testing is needed to determine the level of PFAS.

The preliminary water samples were taken from nearby Swanbank Lake and in Bundamba Creek, south of the Cunningham Hwy. 

This sign will be erected along the Bremer River and Warrill Creek, warning people not to eat fish caught in either waterway as testing has shown high levels of PFAS chemcials.
This sign will be erected along the Bremer River and Warrill Creek, warning people not to eat fish caught in either waterway as testing has shown high levels of PFAS chemcials.

Earlier advice in June not to consume fish from the Bremer River and Warrill Creek near RAAF Base Amberley remains in effect.

Catch and release fishing may continue in all waterways, however fishing and recreational water use at Swanbank Lake remains prohibited.

No drinking water is sourced from these waterways.

The Queensland Health advice to not consume fish is precautionary, while further testing is carried out to determine whether there were any possible risks to public health.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) has established an investigation zone to detect the source, or sources, of the contamination. 

The initial investigation area at RAAF Amberley.
The initial investigation area at RAAF Amberley. Defence

The zone includes Bundamba and Oaky Creeks and Swanbank Lake, and officers are liaising with stakeholders and businesses in the vicinity.

The sampling program will involve fish and water at multiple locations within the zone.

DES has informed Ipswich City Council and the Department of Defence of its ongoing investigation and has asked for their cooperation.

Additional signs will be installed in the area advising the public not to consume fish while investigations continue.

The Queensland Government will keep Ipswich residents informed as the investigation progresses.

Anyone with questions about their own health or that of family members should contact their health care provider in the first instance, or call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Background

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been used since the 1950s in a range of common household products and in some specialty applications.

These include in the manufacture of non-stick cookware; fabric, furniture and carpet stain protection applications; food packaging; some industrial processes; and in some types of fire-fighting foam.

Queensland was the first government in Australia to ban firefighting foam containing perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and is implementing a policy to phase out firefighting foam containing these substances by July 2019.

Fire-fighting foam containing PFAS were used in fire-fighting and fire-fighting training from the 1970s to the mid-2000s and is considered a leading cause of PFAS now found in the wider environment.

The general public is exposed to small amounts of PFAS in everyday life and is not considered to be at risk when PFAS levels are within nationally agreed consumption and recreation guidelines.

Further information on PFAS is available at www.qld.gov.au/environment/