Emergency crews practice their procedures during an exercise at Mackay Airport.
Emergency crews practice their procedures during an exercise at Mackay Airport. Dominick Czakilew

Contaminated ground: airports put on watch

MACKAY Airport is not the only airport in Queensland that is operating on contaminated ground.

Airservices Australia has confirmed that it detected perflourinated compounds at Gold Coast, Cairns and Rockhampton airports.

Perflourinate sulfonate (PFOS) does not break down in the environment.

Airservices has operated an the aviation rescue fire fighting services at the airports while it was using the fire fighting foam, 3M Lightwater, that contained the compounds.

A Mackay former fire fighter was tested and found to have excessive levels of the compound in his body after years working and training at the Mackay Airport.

Airservices stopped using 3M Lightwater in 2003, but the replacement foam Ansulite did contain trace elements of the compounds.

Ansulite was also used at Sunshine Coast and Hamilton Island after Airservices took over fire fighting responsibilities at the two airports.

As yet no contamination has been detected at the two airports, but monitoring was continuing.

"A national, ongoing program is underway as part of Airservices proactive approach to managing risks from the past use of fire fighting foams," Airservices said in a statement to ARM.

"As part of this program, Airservices has been monitoring our services nationally including Gold Coast, Cairns, Mackay, Sunshine Coast, Rockhampton and Hamilton Island airports since 2008.

"This includes assessments which have confirmed the presence of PFOS and PFOA on airport at Gold Coast, Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton."

As part of this program, Airservices has been monitoring our services nationally including Gold Coast, Cairns, Mackay, Sunshine Coast, Rockhampton and Hamilton Island airports since 2008.

This includes assessments which have confirmed the presence of PFOS and PFOA on airports at the Gold Coast, Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton. Airservices are currently undertaking additional precautionary site monitoring at the airports to enhance their understanding of potential PFC levels.

Earlier this week, the Queensland Government announced that it was creating an 'atlas' to record where the banned foam is stored.

Airservices said there was no foam stored at the Mackay Airport.



UPDATED: 'Suspicious package' found at Rio Tinto Yarwun

UPDATED: 'Suspicious package' found at Rio Tinto Yarwun

Fire crews and police are on scene isolating the area.

'Why don't you headbutt me?': Man fined for nightclub attack

premium_icon 'Why don't you headbutt me?': Man fined for nightclub attack

The 26-year-old pleaded guilty to common assault.

Gladstone flashback: Explosions and unforgettable deaths

Gladstone flashback: Explosions and unforgettable deaths

An explosion took place at the Commercial Hotel yard 90 years ago.

Local Partners