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Update on Fiskville
News that operations at CFA’s Fiskville training facility have been suspended until further notice will have had an impact on many of you, particularly those with a close association with Fiskville.
As I said in my last blog, we have ordered further testing of the mains water at the site and hope to have the results back within the next two weeks.
We are providing regular daily updates to our people at Fiskville who are most affected by this.
You can read below a summary of my media conference today.
• We’ve suspended operations at Fiskville as a precaution as we’ve detected chemical residue in large tanks used to store mains water for firefighter training.
• The residue contains a substance known as PFOS and we are conducting further tests across the site to determine if there is further residue in other outlets, such as taps or showerheads.
• Further testing could take up to two weeks, gathering samples, testing water, getting results.
• We’ve stressed to our members and the broader community that advice from our toxicologist Professor Roger Drew is that there are negligible health risks to our people, but obviously they are our primary concern.
• As a result we’ve suspended operations and we’re getting them to work offsite until we get the results of further tests over the next two weeks.
• A toxicology report by Dr Roger Drew indicates the level of PFOS in the water in the tanks is very small. We’ve found 4 micrograms per litre which is extraordinarily small.
• PFOS is an industrial product that was created back in the late 1940s and 1950s. It has been used in products like Scotchguard, make-up, shaving cream, shampoos, textiles, denture cleaners, paper and food packaging, carpets and leather products.
• It exists in the environment and most of us have low levels in our bloodstreams, and is only potentially harmful when it gets to very high levels.
• CFA used PFOS containing firefighting foams at Fiskville in training up until 2007. Part of the testing will be to determine how PFOS got into the mains water supply at the site.