Firefighting foam responsible for the contamination of a site at Shellharbour Airport have been banned in NSW.
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean announced the ban on the toxic PFAS foam on Monday, March 1.
"Firefighting foam is the key cause of PFAS contamination in the NSW environment with concentrations detected at airports, defence sites, emergency service facilities, training facilities, major hazard facilities, and their surrounding environments," Mr Kean said.
"This ban on PFAS firefighting foam will significantly reduce the impact on our environment but still enable our emergency agencies to fight catastrophic fires that can have devastating impacts on life and property."
The Shellharbour Airport site was used as a training ground by Fire and Rescue NSW.
In 2018 it was one of at least 90 sites in Australia found to be contaminated with PFAS.
The government's move means the use of PFAS foam for training purposes is banned immediately.
The use of long-chain PFAS firefighting foam will be restricted from September 2022, as will the sale and use of portable fire extinguishers containing the chemicals.
"These changes will make the phase-out mandatory across NSW, and is a key step to bring our state into line with Australia's National PFAS Position Statement," Mr Kean said.
A FRNSW spokesman said it had already phased out PFAS foams and had not trained with them since 2007.
"Prior to this, fluorinated foams were used to extinguish flammable liquid fires," the spokesman said.
"FRNSW current fluorine-free foams were tested as part of the procurement process and are suitable for most flammable liquid fire scenarios.
"For a large flammable liquid fire, such as a petrochemical storage facility, FRNSW firefighters can access foam stocks held at the premises that are suitable to extinguish such a fire."
Work on cleaning up the Albion Park site is expected to start later this year.
There have been concerns about PFAS with some linking it to cancer-related diseases.
The move comes two years after the previous minister had said it was not possible to ban it.
In 2018 the Environment Minister at the time, Gabrielle Upton, said "this government cannot ban PFAS" and laid responsibility with the federal government.
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