High foam toxin rates in Darwin creek fish
Elevated levels of toxic chemicals have been found in seafood in Darwin waterways contaminated by old fire-fighting foams used at a nearby military base.
Pollutants from the Northern Territory air force base have leeched into Rapid and Ludmilla creeks, which the Defence Department says aren't safe for swimming.
NT government test results released in July revealed fish and crustaceans from the two creeks are safe to eat up to three times per week.
At a community meeting on Wednesday night, Defence's Steven Grzeskowiak said initial findings were in line with that.
He assured residents who live in the investigation area that their bore water is safe to drink.
But home-grown produce on these properties could potentially pose a health risk because of poisonous PFAS, or poly-fluoroalkyl, concentrations in soil.
This week Katherine residents were warned not to eat local fish containing high levels of PFAS used at RAAF Base Tindal, and locals were offered blood testing and counselling.
Defence will undertake further analysis for both dry and wet season conditions, and a human health study due in late April will determine whether blood tests are needed for Darwin residents.
Mr Grzeskowiak noted that in Katherine, Williamtown in NSW and Oakey in Queensland, where free testing has already been offered, people have historically been drinking contaminated water.
"And we have not found that to be the case here in Darwin," he said.
Mr Grzeskowiak said direct contact with soil was only an exposure risk at a few areas on the Darwin RAAF base itself, which have high PFAS concentrations.
One resident who until recently lived in a house backing on to the base for 35 years told the community event he regularly struggled with stormwater runoff which covered his pool and property in sediment.
"It is of concern to me as a family man; I'm a bit grey now but my kids I'm worried about," he said.