Statement from the Williamtown Contamination Expert Panel

23 Oct 2015

The Expert Panel, chaired by NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, met yesterday (Thursday 22 October 2015) to discuss issues relating to the toxic leak at the Williamtown RAAF base.

Members discussed at length the need for a comprehensive human health risk assessment – and the extensive sampling and testing of water, seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables, dairy, eggs, honey and other produce that would be required.

The Panel heard that process could take some time to complete due to the large volume of samples and limited laboratory capacity, and resolved to recommend that the ban on commercial and recreational fishing be extended.

Other health advisories would also need to be kept in place until a full and thorough human health risk assessment is finalised.

Since the Expert Panel meeting, NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries has requested the opportunity to address the Panel about impacts on the local fishing industry.

As a result, an urgent meeting of the Expert Panel has been called for early next week – with any formal announcement to be made following that meeting.