PFAS Management at Launceston Airport
As part of its ongoing environmental management in accordance with its Environment Strategy and the Airports Act and regulations, Launceston Airport is assessing and monitoring PFAS contamination on airport property and is working closely with stakeholders including the airport’s major tenants and the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities on management options.
What are PFAS?
Per- and poly- fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are manufactured chemicals which are found in soils, surface water and groundwater in most urban areas and are often commonly concentrated at places like airports. Historically at airports, one of the uses of PFAS has been in firefighting foam (known as aqueous film forming foam (AFFF)) of the type needed for petroleum fuel fires or spills. At the airport, AFFF has been used in responding to – and training for – firefighting emergencies.
PFAS are persistent chemicals which do not break down easily. While no conclusive evidence has been found so far of PFAS exposure causing adverse human health impacts, research in this area is ongoing.
What is Launceston Airport doing about PFAS?
Environmental monitoring has identified the presence of PFAS contamination at the airport. Launceston Airport is conducting detailed environmental investigations to better understand the extent of that contamination, and will keep stakeholders and the community updated about PFAS management.
Launceston Airport is working with airport tenants (Airservices/ARFFS) and is liaising closely with the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities and other relevant authorities in relation to the management of PFAS contamination from AFFF use at the airport.
For more information about PFAS visit:
- Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Media Release - advice from the Expert Health Panel for PFAS
- enHealth Guidance Statements on PFAS
- Australian Health Protection Principal Committee PFAS FactSheet
- Australian Government PFAS
- PFAS National Environmental Management Plan
- EPA Tasmania: PFAS Contamination
- AirServices National PFAS Management Program
Launceston Airport Environmental Management Plan
Launceston Airport implements a site-wide Environmental Management Plan (EMP). The EMP is designed to assist in the delivery of the environmental management principles described in Launceston Airport’s Environment Policy by identifying the potential environmental risks that are posed by the airport’s operations and describing the measures that will be taken to eliminate or mitigate those risks.
The following parties and activities should consider the requirements of the EMP when developing environmental control measures:
- APAL contractor EMPs
- Tenant Operational Environmental Management Plans (OEMPs) required under APAL lease agreements
- Third party contractor EMPs.
The EMP document structure and content can be used as a guide by external parties in preparing the above management plans. Project or operation specific risks must also be considered and addressed.