Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Marion Charlton.
Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Marion Charlton. Gold Coast Airport

Gold Coast Airport testing for contamination

GOLD Coast Airport has begun testing and will publish its findings on a new website to address growing community concern over its historic use of toxic fire retardants near the runway.

Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were used by Air Services Australia, west of the runway, for about 30 years up to 2010 when the carcinogens were phased out.

Both chemicals were recently found at Williamtown RAAF Base, Newcastle Airport and in Oakey in Queensland, where legal action is being undertaken by Shine Lawyers over chemicals leaching into soil several kilometres from the site, contaminating town groundwater.

GC Airport chief executive officer Marion Charlton told ABC North Coast today the "science was not settled on PFCs" or the danger of the chemicals but the airport had undertaken "interim tests" showing "low" levels so far.

"We're very happy to share those results with the NSW (Environment Protection Agency)," she said.

Ms Charlton said the airport was in the process of launching a website, to update the community on their investigations.

Gold Coast Airport in Senate spotlight over contamination

"We really understand that there will be community concern around this," she said.

"We're currently working on a website that we'll have up in the next week or so.

"It will probably be quite a dynamic website because we'll begin with the science, and as we get more information we'll be updating that website."

Ms Charlton said the airport had met with the Queensland and NSW environment government agencies to brief them on the PFCs investigation and it's on the agenda for the Community Aviation Consultancy Group's next forum in late June.

Her comments come as the Tugun Cobaki Alliance announced a community meeting on the issue to be held on June 7 at South Tweed Community Centre in Heffron St.

Key speakers will include Dr Mariann Lloyd-Smith, senior advisor to the National Toxics Network and member of the UN Expert Group on Climate Change and Chemicals.

There will also be updates and information on the recent Senate inquiry into PFC contamination at RAAF Base Williamtown and other sites.

The airport's failure to disclose the use of the chemicals was slammed by Federal Greens MP Adam Bandt who visited Cobaki Broadwater in April, calling for a freeze on landing equipment approval at the site.



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