A pool of poisonous water underneath Sydney Airport contains some of the highest levels of toxic firefighting chemicals seen on Australia’s eastern seaboard, according to test results that were buried from the public after they were handed to authorities six years ago.
The airport at Mascot is one of the highest profile sites in the country to be polluted with the per- and poly-fluoralkyl [PFAS] chemicals, but despite over a decade of testing the extent of the contamination footprint has remained shrouded in secrecy.
The engine pond at Sydney Airport.
But under freedom of information laws the Herald has now obtained a series of confidential reports from Airservices Australia – the government organisation providing firefighting services to airports.
The reports show alarming levels of the contaminants in a body of water underneath the airport known as the Botany Sands Aquifer, which flows from Centennial Park to Botany Bay.
The toxins were also discovered at levels exceeding health guidelines in soil at the airport’s former fire training ground. According to the reports, the area had become parkland used by the general public for recreation, a description disputed by airport authorities.
The chemicals – which do not break down in the environment – have been polluting the groundwater since the 1970s.
The readings have sparked fresh health concerns among former Botany residents, who tapped the aquifer’s reserves using backyard bores until the practice was banned by the state government in the early 2000s.
What lies beneath: Sydney Airport is revealed to be sitting above a pool of poisonous water with record levels of cancer causing chemicals
Sydney Airport is sitting above a secret pool of highly toxic and poisonous water
Documents reveal the water contains toxic chemicals used in firefighting foam
The chemicals repel grease, oil and water, migrates well and doesn’t break down
Water at the Botany Bay site comes from Centennial Park via underground pipes
Contamination of the waterways has allegedly been going on since the 1970s
Campaigners against the toxic chemicals are angered at a lack of transparency
Sydney Airport is sitting above a poisonous pool of water with record levels of toxic chemicals, but the details have been hidden from the public for decades.
Secret lab results that were made available this week show the water at the airport in Mascot has some of the highest levels of contamination in the country.
The damning report by Airservices Australia shows the waterways are polluted with two types of chemicals known as perfluorinated compounds (PFAS), which are used in firefighting foam.
h/t Digital mix guy