Byron Shire Council and the EPA are investigating the detection of PFAS substances in groundwater at the Butler St Reserve in Byron Bay.
Byron Shire Council and the EPA are investigating the detection of PFAS substances in groundwater at the Butler St Reserve in Byron Bay.

Groundwater contamination: Council, EPA investigating

Byron Shire Council and the NSW Environmental Protection Authority are continuing investigations into groundwater contamination at Byron Bay's Butler Street Reserve.

The investigation comes after per-and-poly fluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances were detected in groundwater beneath the reserve and the nearby Byron Drain (also known as Union Drain).

The reserve was used for unlicensed landfill by local residents and businesses for rubbish disposal until the mid-1970s.

It is believed the PFAS contamination was caused by general household rubbish being placed in the landfill.

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Byron Shire Council's manager of assets and major projects, Phil Warner, said the council and EPA were dealing with the issue.

"The situation at the moment is that we know there is contamination of groundwater at Butler Street Reserve and we now need to understand if there is contamination beyond Butler Street Reserve and if there is, what that level is," Mr Warner said.

Byron Shire Council and the EPA are investigating the detection of PFAS substances in groundwater at the Butler St Reserve in Byron Bay.
Byron Shire Council and the EPA are investigating the detection of PFAS substances in groundwater at the Butler St Reserve in Byron Bay.

"Council understands this will naturally be a concern for property owners and residents of Byron Bay and we encourage them to read the official EPA advice as a first step.

"The EPA is the lead organisation in this matter and Council is being guided by that organisation."

He said the EPA had produced a fact sheet on the investigations into contamination at this site.

It can be viewed on the council's website.

"Council has written to, and where possible, spoken to residents and owners of the 11 properties, advising them we are going to be testing the water in their bores to see if PFAS is present and finding out if, or how, they use that bore water," Mr Warner said.

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The PFAS group of chemicals were widely used in firefighting foams and other products, including domestic items.

Advice from the federal and state governments is that PFAS presence in the environment does not automatically mean there is a risk to human health.

Any property owners in the vicinity with unregistered bores can contact the council by emailing majorprojects@byron.nsw.gov.au.


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