Investigations into potential sources of per and poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in the Shoalhaven River are continuing according to the NSW Environmental Protection Agency.
In November last year the EPA issued a precautionary dietary advice for five fish species caught in the Shoalhaven River, luderick (blackfish), sea mullet, sand whiting, dusky flathead and silverbiddy, after testing found elevated PFAS levels.
The higher readings in the fish were recorded from both up and downstream of the Shoalhaven River Bridge.
A NSW EPA spokesperson said the investigations into PFAS contamination in the Shoalhaven continue.
“Routinely, upon identifying a potential source of PFAS contamination, the EPA requests further studies be undertaken to determine the concentrations and extent of PFAS in the area,” the spokesperson said.
But the EPA has not received the results of the further testing.
The EPA would not comment on whether a possible source of the PFAS contamination had been discovered.
At a meeting into PFAS contamination at HMAS Albatross last November, investigators could also not rule out a possible link between the contamination at the naval base and recent higher PFAS levels in certain fish species in the Shoalhaven River.
“The Department of Defence is undertaking additional aquatic biota sampling (fish and shellfish) to supplement the HMAS Albatross Human Health and Environmental Risk Assessment report (HHERA) that was released in November 2017,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said the warning over consuming certain species of fish from the Shoalhaven River stills stands.
“Members of the public should continue to follow the consumption advice when it comes to fish caught in the Shoalhaven River. That advice is available on the EPA website,” the spokesperson said.
Recreational fishers who regularly catch and eat their own fish in the Shoalhaven River can continue to do so safely, but should follow the dietary advice.
The EPA has released tables which lists the number of serves of a single species that can be eaten each week to limit exposure to half of the health-based guideline value.
Recommended maximum weekly intake for species caught in areas upstream of the Nowra Bridge.
For children aged two to six years it is suggested they can have five serves of sand whiting, three serves of luderick or sea mullet, two serves of dusky flathead and a single serve of silver biddy per week.
For other age groups it is recommended six serves of ludrick, five of sea mullet, four of dusky flathead, three of silverbiddy per week, while there is no recommended intake of sand whiting.
The recommended maximum weekly intake for species caught in areas downstream of the Nowra Bridge.
For children aged two to six it is recommended six serves of sea mullet, five of silver biddy and three of dusky flathead.
For other age groups there is no dietary advice required based on the reported PFOS and PFHxS concentrations. Concentrations were below the adopted trigger values in the samples analysed.
Adult serving size is 150 grams and children serving size is 75 grams.
Species specific information is for when a single species of fish is eaten per week. Eating multiple species would result in a greater exposure.
Commercial fishers can continue to sell fish they catch in the Shoalhaven River and the fishery remains open.