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    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Government releases initial Brisbane water samples

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    Government releases initial Brisbane water samples

    Initial water quality results from the firefighting foam spill at Brisbane Airport on last week (April 10) indicate water levels are now within recreational water quality guidelines near the release point.

    Water samples in Boggy Creek within the immediate vicinity of the Qantas spill show levels of PFOA and PFAS are at acceptable levels for recreational use.

    These samples were collected on the day the spill was reported to authorities (April 11), and have now been compared to samples collected a week later.

    Environment Minister Steven Miles said while the initial results are encouraging, more investigations are required to determine the movement of PFOA and PFAS in the marine system and Brisbane residents should continue to exercise caution.

    “The Queensland Government has received the first results within the immediate area of the spill, however more results from a suite of tests across the investigation area are still to come in,” Mr Miles said.

    “I can advise Brisbane residents that water samples in the immediate vicinity of the Brisbane Airport spill are within recreational water use guidelines.

    “It appears the levels have started to dilute from the immediate location of the spill.

    “We are still waiting on further results in the broader receiving environment including Nudgee Beach and Brisbane Airport."

    Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Mark Elcock said initial test results indicate pollution levels have dropped.

    “We have been advised that water samples in the immediate vicinity of the Brisbane Airport spill are within recreational water use guidelines.

    “We believe health risks are low due to dilution, however until we have the full extent of results our health advice remains unchanged. People still need to take a cautious approach."

    Mr Miles said the Queensland Government had taken swift action again Qantas.

    “The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) will this morning issue Qantas with an Investigation Notice,” Mr Miles said.

    “Qantas has been given strict instructions from the state regulator to undertake additional monitoring including sediment and marine life such a fish and crustaceans.

    “The EHP investigation notice legally requires Qantas to engage a suitably qualified person to investigate, determine and report on the source, and cause and extent of any environmental harm.

    “We have used our legislative powers to protect Queensland waters and the people of Queensland.

    “I continue to urge the Commonwealth to also take action to hold the polluter accountable for the contamination.

    “As the Federal Government regulates Brisbane Airport, I call on the

    Commonwealth to step up and use their powers to determine the nature and extent of environmental contamination, and clean it up,” Mr Miles said.

    The maximum penalty for a corporation that failed to complete the requirements set out in a Notice to conduct or commission an environmental evaluation is $182,850.

    ENDS

    Media contact Environment: Katharine Wright 0422 580 342

    Media contact Qld Health/Acting CHO: Robert Hoge 0427 435 592

    Media contact Fisheries: Adrian Taylor 0448 994 172