Why Oakey is left with more unanswered questions

Oakey resident Jennifer Spencer and Berwick Stud owner Dianne Priddle.
Oakey resident Jennifer Spencer and Berwick Stud owner Dianne Priddle. Tara Miko

AFTER waiting more than 12 months to learn the full extent of toxic chemical contamination at Oakey, residents are now anxiously looking to answers on human health impacts.

The revelations the plume of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances will exist in groundwater supplies for the next 100 years shocked residents, with some concerned about the impact on their health.

"This stuff isn't going away," resident Jennifer Spencer said.

"It's very scary."

The Department of Defence tested 18 soil samples onsite at the Oakey Army Aviation Centre, and eight locations outside the base's perimeter, the PFAS toxins were found at all sites.

The Environmental Site Assessment report also found the contaminated zone had spread further south than anticipated, and had followed the underground water course.

Results from blood testing of various livestock including cattle, sheep and poultry will be released in the forthcoming Human Health Risk Assessment report, along with blood test results of residents.

Ms Spencer fears that report will confirm the worst for residents living in the red zone.

Critically, the report is expected to explain what impacts the PFAS substances - which include PFOA and PFOS chemicals - have on people.

Resident Dianne Priddle, whose property borders the contamination plume and will be directly impacted if it is left untreated, said the report was the next step in the fight towards land buy-backs.

The commercial stud owner said the ESA report, and the fact chemicals would remain in soils and groundwater supplies for the next century, confirmed to her buy-backs were the only option.

"For (partner) David and I, we've understood that this (PFAS) doesn't break down," she said.

"We don't know, and they don't know, how they're going to pull it up.

"It's had a 40-year head start on them and land buy-backs are the only way to go.

"This is not what we wanted from our position but it is what we know has to happen."

Ms Priddle called for clearer maps to be released to allow residents to identify their properties in relation to the more concentrated areas within Oakey.

A spokeswoman for Defence told a community information session Wednesday night the HHRA report was on schedule for release at the end of August.

It is expected to be followed by community walk-in sessions.

Topics:  darling downs oakey oakey army aviation centre oakey groundwater contamination toowoomba

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