5 Dec 2018

Sites contaminated with firefighting foam cannot be made public

8:22 pm on 5 December 2018

The government says it cannot say where the sites with very high levels of firefighting foam contamination are.

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Photo: AFP

A new study has found firefighting foam is threatening the ecosystem and there are training facilities where the levels of chemicals in surface water are 70 and 140 times above the safety guidelines.

RNZ asked the Environment Ministry for details of these locations however it said it is unable to share the unpublished data.

"PDP has advised that this data is part of an ongoing investigation, commissioned by a private client outside of Crown agencies, and as such this information cannot be released.," Environment Ministry by consultants Pattle Delamore Partners (PDP) said.

"They did not give us any indication as to whether the client will approve wider release of the data following completion of that investigation."

The private client has not been named.

Contamination at firefighting training facilities in Taranaki was revealed in August.

The Environmental Protection Authority knew about this contamination but did not tell the public.

The training centre next to the Māui Production Station discharges wastewater into two streams that have elevated levels of PFAS and where there are warnings against eating the eels.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand has also been looking into what contamination it has at its training sites but as a Crown agency, it is not PDP's private client.

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