In June 2017, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Chair and CEO wrote to NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Mary O’Kane requesting that the Williamtown Contamination Expert Panel be transitioned to the NSW PFAS Expert Panel to provide ongoing high level advice on PFAS-related matters.
As with the previous Williamtown Contamination Expert Panel, the NSW PFAS Expert Panel (the Expert Panel) will be led by Professor O'Kane and consist of a range of technical experts in contamination and health. It will also include senior representatives from the EPA, NSW Health, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Hunter Water Corporation.
The Expert Panel will be called upon as necessary to provide scientific advice to the EPA and other NSW Government agencies on how to manage contaminated sites across New South Wales.
The Expert Panel will work in partnership and consult regularly with stakeholders to ensure affected communities remain informed and updated.
The Expert Panel has been established under Division 4 of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991 for the purpose of providing informed scientific advice to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to assist in developing the NSW Government's response in relation to investigations to assess and manage per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination on sites across Australia.
The Expert Panel will also provide advice for NSW agencies to inform decisions they may need to make to protect the community and the environment in relation to matters such as the consumption of potentially PFAS contaminated water and/or produce and the use of ground and surface water in areas potentially affected by the offsite contamination.
The functions of the Expert Panel are to:
1. Assess available information on PFAS contamination from identified sites and advise agencies on factors influencing the retention of the temporary measures already in place and the need for any additional measures to manage potential risks, including bore water usage, recreational and commercial fishing and agricultural activities.
2. Provide advice to the EPA on whether and what additional investigations or studies are needed to be undertaken by identified polluters and their consultants, to assist in refining risk assessment and management measures related to PFAS contamination.
3. Review and provide advice on proposed remediation strategies to address migration of contamination, the need for further investigations and/or long-term monitoring, and reporting mechanisms for the data and information from these activities.
4. Provide a source of informed expert advice to the EPA on guidance, communication and engagement with the local community and relevant stakeholders.
5. Review and advice on a PFAS National Management Framework in relation to NSW processes and in accordance with requests or guidance as requested by the Prime Minister & Cabinet PFAS Taskforce.
The Expert Panel will operate for 12 months from the date of its formation. The term of the Expert Panel can be extended by the EPA Chair and CEO if required.
The Expert Panel has been extended until 30 June 2018.
For more information please contact: