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Chris Darby: Devonport contamination update

Published: 28 May 2018

Auckland Council works with government agencies to keep Aucklanders up to date on possible PFAS contamination.

PFAS are chemicals used since the 1950s in products that resist heat, grease and water, like furniture polish, floor wax, non-stick cookware and specialised firefighting foams.

Their widespread but low-level use means that most people have been exposed without health consequences.

North Shore Ward Councillor Chris Darby, who also serves on the Environment and Community Committee, says that, as firefighting foams were used at defence facilities, it is sensible to assess the Devonport Naval Base and he will continue to press for information.

“The government agencies involved have carried out the initial testing. Once more has been done we will act as a conduit to ensure timely and accurate information is released,” he says.

“Residents of the North Shore, and Auckland Council, should have been informed of the situation much earlier than they were. I’ve raised my disappointment over the timeliness of information and we now have an assurance from the defence force of early information sharing.”

Initial tests at Devonport found PFAS compounds in sample sites, including in mangroves, but they were well below guideline levels.

The area’s drinking water comes from the city’s piped supply and is not affected.

The defence force is now testing at Ngataringa Bay to assess the potential presence of PFAS.

Cr Darby says he is seeking regular updates and will continue to monitor any delays so the public has access to accurate information.

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Testing at the NZ Defence Force naval base sites at Devonport has returned positive contamination results for the historic use of a specialist firefighting foam.