While Wagga councillor Paul Funnell praised Department of Defence’s transparency in relation to the PFAS contamination, he said “grave concerns” remained.
It comes after a fresh report this week revealed surface water containing per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl had migrated from RAAF Base Wagga, through the storm water drains and leached into the groundwater at Gumly’s wetlands.
The chemicals are ingredients found in a number of heat-resistant products, including firefighting foam a number of agencies used from the 1970s until 2004.
Forest Hill residents were on Thursday invited to a community walk-in forum to learn the findings of a detailed site investigation, following last year’s discovering of PFAS in the ground and surface water surrounding the air force base.
Although toxic to small animals and fish, an expert health panel in May found no clear evidence to suggest the “highly persistent” chemicals were linked to human illnesses.
Adding to this, attendees at a community forum were on Thursday reassured no one had consumed the contaminated water.
Councillor Funnell welcomed the news, but he said environmental concerns remained.
“People have no cause for concerns from the drinking water and that’s great,” Cr Funnell said. “But any contamination in the wetlands is a red flag.”
Having worked with water systems for a number of years, the outspoken councillor said contaminants could easily spread from that location.
"The elephant in the room is the wetlands are supposed to be an environmental filter,” Cr Funnell said.
“It can push through really easily to the next section and then the next section.”
With the highly persistent nature of the chemicals and their inability to naturally break down, he said the focus had to be turned to monitoring and preventing the spread of PFAS into the Murrumbidgee River.
“We have an opportunity to fix these things,” Cr Funnell said. “Let’s see if it can be isolated.”
Anyone with concerns relating to the PFAS investigation at Forest Hill has been encouraged to contact the Department of Defence.
“There is no stupid question,” he said.
Members of the PFAS investigation team on Thursday said a Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment would be conducted, with findings expected to be revealed later this year.