Callide PFAS monitoring
CS Energy is conducting an investigation into the potential environmental impact of our historical use of PFAS at Callide Power Station.
Callide's use of PFAS was infrequent and in small quantities for training, testing and emergency response purposes. We removed firefighting foams containing non-compliant levels of PFAS in 2019 as part of a Queensland Government policy to phase out their use.
Community information walk in session - 30 august 2023
CS Energy is hosting a community walk in session for the Biloela community about the PFAS testing near Callide Power Station.
Over the past few months CS Energy has been progressing several different activities as we continue to respond to the legacy use of PFAS at Callide Power Station.
During the information session we will update you on the following:
- Aquatic biota sampling for the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment
- Sampling and the technical monitoring program
- Work to install extra groundwater bores to minimise water leaving site
- Investigating other PFAS sources around Callide Power Station and how PFAS is moving through the environment
- Monitoring a filtration trial.
There is no presentation – simply drop in at time that suits you.
We will be joined by Epic Environmental, Batchfire Resources and Queensland Health.
- Biloela Hotel
- Wednesday 30 August 2pm to 7pm
Please RSVP if you are interested in attending to email@example.com or call 0477 957 116.
CS Energy is working with an independent environmental testing firm to understand the impact of our historical PFAS use at Callide Power Station. We are also working closely with the Department of Environment and Science and Queensland Health, and following their advice.
The health of the community and our employees is CS Energy’s key priority and will guide our actions throughout the monitoring program. We are speaking directly with affected landholders and proactively updating the broader Biloela community and our employees.
Working with DES
We are working cooperatively with the Department of Environment and Science (DES) on an Environmental Evaluation notice.
An Environmental Evaluation is a compliance tool under the Environmental Protection Act 1994 that aims to evaluate and facilitate a solution for an event that has caused, or is likely to cause, environmental harm.
We have been working closely with DES, structuring our response to date as if we were already under an Environmental Evaluation framework.
It requires CS Energy to take certain action by specific timeframes. This includes appointing a suitably qualified person to carry out the requirements of the notice, along with a contaminated land auditor, which we have already done. We are also required to develop a Sampling Analysis and Quality Plan and undertake sampling, which is already under way.
CS Energy formally submitted our response to the Environmental Evaluation to DES in September 2022.
This included a summary of sampling methodologies and results to date.
The work we did as part of the Environmental Evaluation identified further areas for CS Energy to investigate in relation to sources and pathways around the Callide Power Station.
DES have now responded to our report and have advised they will extend the timeframe of the Environmental Evaluation by 12 months so we can do this further investigation work. This submission was due by October 2023.
We recently requested an extension from DES on this timeframe to allow us to fully complete work to investigate additional PFAS sources around Callide Power Station and how the PFAS is moving through the environment.
DES have now extended the timeframe for this response to March 2024.
Test results & Recent activities
28/08/2023 - Latest sampling results and updated map
We have now completed the third round of landholder sampling in zones 1 to 6 and are currently updating all landholders of their results.
To date the results show that concentrations of PFAS are generally stable and in some areas reducing, across the investigation area. There has been some variation in results between sampling events. However, the technical monitoring program indicates that a long-term trend is developing where the levels are remaining stable or reducing.
At present, we do not have any further landholder sampling scheduled for this year.
To date we have completed seven rounds of the quarterly Technical Monitoring Program.
This monitoring is in addition to landholder property sampling activities. This program samples in strategic locations across the investigation area to give an overview of how PFAS is moving through the environment and through different seasons.
The results help us understand if there is movement of PFAS levels across the whole area.
We will continue this program in this form while we finalise the Environmental Evaluation due in early 2024. Once this is complete, we will design a plan for ongoing sampling requirements.
Updated map (PDF 8.4MB)
28/08/2023 - Aquatic biota sampling report and summary information sheet
As part of an upcoming Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment, sampling on aquatic biota was undertaken in January and February 2023.
Based on the work done to date, the preliminary findings are that the fish and crustaceans that people would most commonly eat (e.g. barramundi and red claw crayfish) within Callide Dam did not have PFAS detected in the samples. Queensland Health advises there is no need to avoid eating fish from the Callide Dam.
PFAS was found in the samples from Callide Creek, downstream of the Callide Dam. Queensland Health advises that with the levels of PFAS found in the Callide Creek, an infrequent meal (every few months) of fish from the creek would not make a significant contribution to an individual’s overall exposure to PFAS.
The aquatic biota sampling will form part of the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessment (HHERA). We wanted to share the findings now, however, it’s important to note it needs to be considered in the context of the HHERA when it’s complete. A HHERA looks at the combined risks of exposure pathways (e.g. drinking water, bathing, eating food). It takes a holistic approach to understanding what the combined risk is.
A qualified risk assessor will undertake this work. We expect it to start in September, with a finalised report in early to mid-2024.
15/06/2022 - Hydrogeological Review and updated map
Since September 2021 CS Energy has been progressing several different activities as we continue to respond to the legacy use of PFAS at Callide Power Station.
These activities are:
- Hydrogeological modelling to further understand PFAS and its movement in groundwater and surface water.
- Resampling groundwater bores on landholder properties.
- Technical sampling in strategic locations on a quarterly basis.
- Planning for soil remediation at the power station.
This newsletter, emailed to landholders 15 June provides an update on these activities. Included in the newsletter was an updated map showing the inferred levels of PFOS and PFHxS (PDF 6.4MB).
CS Energy engaged two hydrogeologists to do some modelling to help us understand the geology of the aquifer and how water and PFAS are moving through it.
A report has been produced that summarises the finding of this work: Callide Power Station - PFAS Investigation - Hydrogeological Review (PDF 5.4MB)
21/12/2021 - Updated map reflecting resampling
Since September 2021 CS Energy has been working through re-sampling private landholder bores in our investigation area.
To date, re-sampling is showing results are largely consistent with sampling undertaken in early 2021.
We have been re-sampling chronologically, starting with zone 1.
We are 60 per cent through this plan with most landholders in zones 1 to 4 being resampled.
We expect to be able to finalise any outstanding sampling for zones 1 to 3 in January 2022 and move on to zones 4, 5 and 6 in February and March 2022.
In addition to landholder re-sampling, our technical experts have been doing some additional sampling. This will continue on a quarterly basis until at least April 2022.
In the new year we will continue with landholder and technical program sampling.
In addition, we expect to receive advice from two hydrogeologists that have been doing some modelling to further understand PFAS movement in the groundwater onsite and downstream of the site.
Their work will help give us insight to guide decision making about future sampling. We are not ruling sampling in other areas in, or out, at this stage.
And, on site at Callide Power Station, we will be engaging a specialist in soil remediation.
View the map (PDF 8.4MB)
03/09/2021 - Results for zones 1 to 6
CS Energy has a released an updated map summarising the results of its PFAS testing to date.
The map summarises the results from sampling conducted on 82 landholder properties this year. It includes about six months of testing in six zones near the Callide Power Station.
- 82 landholder properties were tested, and of this 82, 23 landholders had at least one sample point over drinking water guidelines. CS Energy is working with landholders on an individual basis to provide an alternative domestic water supply.
- The remaining 59 landholder properties returned results under the drinking water guidelines.
We’ve talked to landholders about their results and provided them with a lab report and advice from Qld Health and other government agencies.
View the map summarising results in zones 1 to 6 (PDF 1.7MB)
Over the next six months (to early 2022) CS Energy is undertaking a series of actions, including resampling landholder bores, ongoing monitoring, hydrogeological review and on-site (at the power station) remediation.
Read more about the next steps in the newsletter (PDF 210.8KB)
18/06/2021 – Results for zones 1 to 5
CS Energy has released a map summarising the latest results of its PFAS sampling program on landholder properties near Callide Power Station.
The map summarises results across five sampling zones – the results from zone 1 that were released on 31 March and new results released today covering zones 2 – 5.
- Of the 70 landholders in zones 1 to 5, 19 landholders had at least one sample point over drinking water guidelines, with four of those landholders using it for drinking water. CS Energy is working with landholders on an individual basis to provide an alternative drinking water supply.
- The remaining 51 landholder properties returned results under the drinking water guidelines.
View the map summarising zone 1 to 5 results. (PDF 8.1MB)
CS Energy has provided each landholder with their results, including their own laboratory report, relevant advice from Queensland Health and information from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries about using bore water for irrigating crops and for livestock.
So far, the results indicate that the further downstream we go, higher levels of PFAS are generally found north of the Callide Creek. We want to get a more complete picture of what concentration is happening in the area by testing in a new zone south of the creek.
This new area (zone 6) is bound by Dawson Highway, Callide Creek, Tognolini Baldwin road and Jambin Dakenba Road. We completed sampling in early June and expect the results in the next few weeks.
Over the coming months, CS Energy also intends to conduct a hydrogeological review, sampling of aquatic organisms, and a human health and ecological risk assessment. This will give further insight into how water flows in the area, and any ongoing potential exposure for people and the environment.
CS Energy will continue to provide information to landholders and the community about the program of work going forward.
31/03/2021 - Results from testing on landholder properties in zone 1
CS Energy has divided the sampling area near Callide Power Station into four geographic zones so that the testing can be carried out as efficiently as possible. We’ve been receiving the results in batches and we how have all the results for zone 1.
In zone 1:
- Samples were collected from 21 landholders’ properties in the area downstream along Callide Creek to just past the Linkes Road creek crossing.
- Seven landholders had at least one sample point over drinking water guidelines, with four of those landholders using it for drinking water. CS Energy has organised an alternative drinking water supply for these four landholders.
- The remaining 14 landholder properties returned results under the drinking water guidelines.
CS Energy has provided each landholder with their results, including their own laboratory report, relevant advice from Queensland Health and the Department of Environment and Science, and information from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries about using bore water for irrigating crops and for livestock.
View a map summarising zone 1 results (PDF 7.6MB)
Further work is required to better understand the variable nature of the results and the influence of factors such as bore depth, age and volume of use; aquifer connectivity; and interaction between surface water and groundwater.
Testing is still under way for properties in the other sampling zones. As we continue to receive results for each zone we will periodically update the map on our website. We expect to release the results for zones 2 and 3 in May.
Our technical experts are also developing a longer term PFAS monitoring and management program in consultation with the Department of Environment and Science.
01/03/2021 - Sampling underway on landholder properties
In February 2021 we sampled on private landholder property in same section of Callide Creek as our January sampling program. We also did some extra sampling further downstream of Linkes Road at the request of some landholders.
The results are coming through in batches over February and March. Early results have shown a mix of PFAS levels above and below drinking water guidelines. Once we have all of the results, we’ll provide an update on the findings on this web page.
Our first priority is to talk through individual results with each landholder and provide them with their own lab report and the relevant advice from Queensland Health and the Department of Environment and Science.
In the meantime, we are continuing with our sampling program and will broaden the testing area to include properties between the Linkes Road creek crossing and the Dawson Highway.
22/02/2021 - Banana Shire Council tests of Biloela town water
Following CS Energy's detection of PFAS in some locations near Callide Power Station, the Banana Shire Council tested the Biloela town water supply.
The results of Council's tests found that the Biloela water supply is safe to drink. Read the Council's update on their Facebook page.
08/02/2021 - Initial findings from sampling in January 2021
In January 2021 CS Energy's independent environmental testing firm took samples on site, and off site in the area adjacent to the power station.
Samples were taken adjacent to the power station and various locations along Callide Creek between the station and approximately four kilometres downstream to the Linkes Road creek crossing. None of the sample sites were on private property.
- The tests found that at locations within and outside our site, there were levels of PFAS detected that were higher than the government guidelines for drinking water and species protection.
- While some results were above the government guidelines, they were significantly lower than at other sites in Queensland that had PFAS in their groundwater.
- We are working with the Department of Environment and Science (DES) and Queensland Health on these results.
- DES and Queensland Health have identified one location about 4km downstream (near Linkes Road) as the priority public health focus area given its proximity to private property and distance from the power station.
- The other locations that were above guidelines are either on, or very close to the power station site, and in the predicted flow path of PFAS.
Callide PFAS sampling area map (PDF 6.4MB)
Going forward, we'll be doing more monitoring and testing of water samples from the surrounding catchment. Over coming weeks and months we’ll be sampling on and off our site, and working with potentially affected landholders to test their bores they use for domestic purposes.
For more information, please read the CS Energy fact sheet for landholders (PDF 158.7KB)
Everyone manages uncertainty and stress differently. A number of support services are available to you, including your GP. The Australian Government funds a range of services for people affected by PFAs, including Better Access and Head to Health. Find out more at health.gov.au
CS Energy is also offering landholders in the sampling zones near the Callide Power Station access to our Employee Assistance Program providers, Assure Program.
If you feel you need support, you’re invited to call Assure on 1800 808 374 (24 hours).
Assure will provide affected landholders with free, confidential support, with no GP referral required. This service will be available for at least the next six months.
Download Assure's FAQ document with more information here (PDF 230.3KB).
Frequently asked questions
CS Energy's testing program
Drinking water guidelines
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