Adelaide Airport Limited (AAL) has a clear vision to develop Parafield Airport as a nationally recognised Class D Airport of Excellence with a partnership approach to business thereby helping to generate prosperity for the communities of South Australia. Parafield Airport is also a major component of Australia’s aviation training infrastructure.
We strive to deliver high quality facilities and services that are regarded as best in class, safe, secure and sustainable. As such Adelaide Airport Limited (AAL) is committed to managing and developing Adelaide and Parafield Airports in a sustainable manner.
Our philosophy is to act in accordance with sustainable business principles and practices. In doing so we recognise that conducting business in a way that is environmentally, socially and economically responsible can enhance the success of our organisation. We believe that in choosing this path we can improve outcomes for our business, our stakeholders and the wider community for generations to come.
Parafield Airport has an internationally recognised carbon program. In 2013, Adelaide and Parafield Airports became the first airports in Australasia to receive Level 1 Airport Carbon Accreditation under the independently assessed global program run by Airports Council International (ACI). Accreditation to Level 3 was obtained in 2017, in recognition of Parafield Airport’s success in reducing carbon emissions.
We are not only concerned with those activities under our direct control but of all airport users and seek to influence change through collaboration and negotiation with key stakeholders and awareness and education.
Parafield Airports Sustainability Policy, Environment Statement and Low Carbon Statement form the foundation for its Environment Strategy, the overarching document driving environmental management at Parafield Airport.
What is PFAS?
Per- and poly- fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are manufactured chemicals that are used to make products resistant to heat, stains, grease and water.
PFAS have been widely used for more than 50 years in many consumer and industrial products, including carpets, cookware, clothing, food packaging, pesticides, stain repellents, firefighting foams, mist suppressants and coatings.
PFAS are stable chemicals that are resistant to physical, chemical and biological degradation. Because of these properties, PFAS last for a long time and they can be found in humans, animals and throughout the environment in Australia and other parts of the world.
There are many types of PFAS. The PFAS most commonly encountered in the environment and in wildlife are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS). These are also the most studied PFAS due to their frequent occurrence in the environment, persistence and potential for bioaccumulation.
PFAS molecules are made up of a carbon chain with attached fluorine atoms, and a hydrophilic (water soluble) group at one end. The hydrophilic headgroups make PFAS very soluble in water. Consequently, PFAS can move from soil to surface water or groundwater and then migrate to creeks, rivers and lakes. PFAS can also be taken up by organisms in contaminated areas and be transferred through the food chain.
Due to widespread historical PFAS use, there are now PFAS contaminated sites in many parts of Australia and around the world. In some cases, PFAS from these sites have migrated to surface water, groundwater and/or adjoining land. PFAS can also be released into the environment from landfill sites where PFAS-containing products are disposed of, and through sewer discharges.
‘Groundwater’ is the water found underground in the cracks and spaces within soil, sand and rock. It moves slowly through the subsurface and may flow into surface water bodies.
‘Surface water’ is water that collects on the surface of the ground. This includes water in creeks, rivers, dams, lakes. It also includes water that temporarily pools or flows along the ground or in a drain during or after rainfall events. In general, surface water flows towards lower lying areas.
History of PFAS Use at Parafield Airport
Firefighting services were provided by former commonwealth agencies at Parafield Airport until 1986. Since that time, fire fighting services have been provided externally by the Metropolitan Fire Service.
Firefighting foam used at the airport by aviation rescue firefighting services since the early 1970s contained perfluorinated compounds (PFC). The use of this foam at Parafield Airport was discontinued more than 30 years ago in 1986 when there ceased to be an active fire fighting service based at Parafield Airport.
Parafield Airport Ltd (PAL) took over operations of Parafield Airport in 1998 in a leasehold arrangement with the Australian Government. While PAL has never been responsible for fire fighting services, it is pro-actively managing and coordinating the response to PFAS-related investigations based on guidance from Federal and State regulators, including the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
The firefighting foams historically used at Parafield and other airports contained PFAS and included commercial products such as 3M LightWaterTM and AnsuliteTM. These products were used for both operational and training purposes at Parafield until 1986.
Foams containing PFAS have been stored and/or used at the former fire training grounds, located to the south and west of Parafield Airport’s runways and taxiways, and at the old fire station on the northern boundary.
PFAS at Parafield Airport
For everything you need to know about PFAS at Parafield Airport, please refer to this brochure.
PFAS at Parafield Airport – Last modified November 2018
In light of PAL’s ongoing commitment to engage with relevant stakeholders regarding the assessment and management of PFAS, a summary of the latest investigations is available here. A copy of the August 2019 PFAS Investigation report can be accessed here. PAL has also made a factsheet available, which provides information on PFAS and the investigation results to date. Further updates will be provided as investigation results become available.
For further information about PFAS, please refer to the PFAS at Parafield Airport brochure.
For further information
- EPA South Australia
- PFAS NEMP
- Australian Department of Health
- SA Health
- Adelaide Airport
- Parafield Airport
- SA Water
AAL/PAL have produced guidelines to provide information on a range of operational activities with potential environmental impacts and to provide guidance on how these activities can be undertaken in a manner consistent with applicable legislation. All activities on airport land must be undertaken in accordance with these guidelines, please visit the Adelaide Airport Website to access this information.
PFAS Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment
To allow for a third party evaluation of the PFAS investigation results at Parafield Airport and to provide a more in-depth assessment of potential on- and off-airport human health and ecological risks associated with PFAS, PAL engaged specialist consultants to undertake a PFAS human health and ecological risk assessment (HHERA).
The consultants drew on the information from all on- and off-airport investigations undertaken at PAL, data gathered from the off-airport groundwater use surveys, and other relevant information, to undertake a detailed assessment of potential risks to users of the airport, airport workers, the community and the local ecology.
Please click here to view a copy of the PFAS HHERA report. Table 12.1 of the HHERA report (pg. 69) summarises the potential risks both on and off the airport. The HHERA report indicates that potential risks to the community in relation to PFAS are “low and acceptable”.