TAMWORTH Regional Council has no more funding to clean-up contamination at the airport and says the federal government needs to come to the party.
Tamworth Regional Airport was identified as one of 25 sites “under investigation” in NSW for elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS).
However, Ross Briggs, council’s manager of regulatory services, believed there could be more contaminated sites, yet to be uncovered.
Mr Briggs said council had spent $120,000 testing and containing PFAS contamination at the airport, which was allegedly caused by fire-fighting drills carried-out at the facility when it was run by Commonwealth air services for 32 years.
He said council was now in limbo, left to manage the issue it only became aware of in 2016.
“We’ve gone as far as we can with funding,” Mr Briggs told The Leader.
He had previously said requests for financial help had fallen on deaf ears and with no money cash in the clean-up coffers, the Tamworth issue appeared unresolved.
“We’re waiting for the federal government to take responsibility and come to the party,” he said.
Council was preparing to make a submission to a current inquiry on PFAS contamination on defence sites, to make sure its voice was heard on the issue.
“We want to keep the matter front of mind for the federal government,” Mr Briggs said.
“The mayor and councillors have been working with our MPs to make sure its kept front of mind.
“We don’t want to be left holding the bag for the federal government.”
He said the PFAS was “reasonably well-contained” and there were no new warning for residents “above and beyond” previous communication.
“What we’ve told the community before is: not to consume the groundwater, not to use it to irrigate vegetable crops you’re planning to eat and limit the types of fish caught and eaten from the Peel River,” he said.
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