Defence Department worried about water near RAAF Pearce base

The RAAF Pearce base.
The RAAF Pearce base.

THE Defence Department has started soil and water sampling around the RAAF Pearce site in Bullsbrook amid fears a chemical agent may have contaminated groundwater.

The investigation forms part of a wider probe of RAAF bases across Australia where the chemical foam was used.

Earlier this year, residents of 18 communities near airfields across the country – including Pearce – discovered that toxic fire fighting chemicals had poisoned their land and water.

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The Defence Department put flyers in the letterboxes of houses in Bullsbrook around March, advising them that bore water sampling on private land was under way close to RAAF Base Pearce.

Residents in some areas have been warned against eating local seafood and drinking water or even eating eggs from chickens. The Defence Department is testing bases for traces of perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, which were used in fire fighting foam in the past.

The military used the chemical fire suppressant for about 50 years and ended its use only in 2008.

There have been claims Defence was warned as early as 2003 that the fire suppressant was unsafe for use.