Toxic compounds linked to firefighting foam found in Mount Maunganui groundwater

12:23 pm on 13 April 2021

Toxic compounds associated with firefighting foam found in groundwater at a Mount Maunganui industrial area are being investigated.

15139167 - pipette adding fluid to one of several test tubes

The FPAS' were identified in a contaminated land assessment as part of a consent application (file image). Photo: 123RF

The PFAS' (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) manmade chemicals have been linked to some cancers and have triggered investigations and lawsuits globally, as well as a Hollywood movie.

Bay of Plenty regional council said the FPAS' were identified in a contaminated land assessment as part of a consent application.

"Tauranga City Council has confirmed there is no risk to the Mount Maunganui drinking water supply," the regional council said.

The council was "acting quickly to gain a full picture" including seeking public health advice.

"Further sampling is now being undertaken to establish the extent of the contamination and whether or not it has impacted the surrounding environment."

Groundwater testing will take four weeks.

Local people would be kept up to date, the council said.

Council general manager of regulatory services Sarah Omundsen said in a statement it was a complex situation decades in the making within the Mount Maunganui industrial area.

All-of-government investigations into PFAS came to a close with contamination identified in many places, especially around New Zealand Defence Force bases, but with no remedy proposed, except at Ohakea, where local farmers in a pollution plume zone are getting a new piped-water scheme.

However, the use of cleaner types of firefighting foam is now more widespread and in some cases mandated.

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