BY LAUREN KEMPE
Port Stephens is the newest target of PFAS investigations, with the Department of Defence announcing an inquiry into the Weapon's Range at Salt Ash.
Tests will be carried out from next month on soil, water and sediment in the area, to uncover the extent of the toxic chemical found in firefighting foam.
It follows a series of similar investigations across the state including Williamtown and most recently, Singleton's Military Base.
Salt Ash is located just 8 kilometres from Williamtown, and Port Stephens MP Kate Washington says Salt Ash is directly linked and should not be treated as unrelated.
'Defence is seeming to treat this as a very separate investigation; I would suggest it's not. Many of the residents already affected by the Williamtown RAAF Base contamination will have accumulative impacts from the other site because many of those who were letter-dropped by the new investigation are already identified as being in the Red Zone.'
Ms Washington says the gap between investigations is unacceptable.
'For it to take three years for them to start investigating the Salt Ash Weapon's Range is quite astonishing, and they have known that PFAS was used on that site for quite some time now. It is a complex problem, but all of the residents living around these areas need answers and they need to know whether they can get out and what the impacts are on their health.
'Once again, it has all been left to Defence to investigate. I don't understand where the EPA is in all of this. The EPA also has a responsibility, and they are just not stepping up.'
A preliminary report will be released by the end of the year.