Bulletin No: 106                                               Volume:  21                                  TUESDAY 26 MAY 2015

    TO ALL UFU MEMBERS

UNSAFE LEVELS OF PFOS FOUND

18.3 KM DOWNSTREAM OF FISKVILLE

PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY ALSO

HEARS EVIDENCE OF BULLYING

Unsafe levels of PFOS were detected 18.5 kilometres downstream of Fiskville and may even be further but the CFA stopped testing at that distance, the Fiskville Parliamentary Inquiry heard yesterday.

AECOM Technical Director Darryl Strudwick was the EPA accredited Environmental Auditor who verified the “clean-up plan”.  Upon invitation from the CFA, AECOM had provided a proposal for Environmental Auditor Services after the EPA had issued two clean up notices in January 2013.  

Mr Strudwick appeared before the Committee yesterday and provided evidence on “the clean-up plan” he had verified.  He told the inquiry that testing of water downstream had shown levels of PFOS over and above the safe standard up to 18.3 kilometres from Fiskville.  However, the contamination may be spread further but testing was stopped at that distance.

Mr Strudwick also discussed a “human health assessment” finding of “low risk” impact of contamination on those worked and lived at Fiskville but this was based on results that won’t become available until  May 2017 – and then only if the remedial work is completed. The Committee asked how AECOM and CFA determined it was low risk when the work was yet to be completed and without the referred to test results.   The consultant was unable to provide any greater explanation.

Despite being the EPA accredited auditor, upon questioning from the Committee it appeared Mr Strudwick did not know that the contaminated soil had been dumped on Fiskville land near the neighbouring farms as part of the remediation project.

Other witnesses gave evidence of bullying by CFA management including making unwell recruits with medical certificates swim the contaminated dams in 2000.

A neighbour also gave evidence of Fiskville management intimidating and threatening behaviour.

Neville Callow had made many complaints over the past 12 years of the smoke and particulates pluming over his land.  He spoke of acid-rain burns on his horses due to the fuels being burned in hot fire training.   The same farmer detailed stock deaths due to cancer, and his own family illnesses.

Neville Callow has repeatedly asked CFA to test his soil and water on his property but has not been even afforded a reply.  He said he is viewed by CFA as a nuisance.

The AECOM consultant had earlier confirmed that the only neighbouring property that had been tested was that of the Lloyd family who gave evidence last week of PFOS levels in their own blood tests of more than 30 times the safe limit.

Mr Callow’s property is closer to the PAD than the Lloyd’s farm and therefore should have been tested as well.

Fiskville Management offered to buy Mr Callow’s farm for a reduced price which he accepted.  But when the proposal was put to CFA HQ for approval the CFA refused to buy it.  CFA later came back with a further offer reduced by more than $200,000 which was not acceptable to the farmer.

The Committee was also scheduled to hear from Professor Rob Joy who wrote the CFA commissioned report into contamination from 1970 – 1999 but due to technical difficulties that interview to be conducted by telephone had to be abandoned.

A further hearing will be held on Monday 15 June 2015.

Strength in Unity

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Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary