Recently, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) began a voluntary ground and surface water testing program at the Port of Mackay, so we could understand more about the hydrology of the port precinct.

This testing found low concentrations of PFAS – a group of chemicals that have been widely used in consumer and industrial products, including firefighting foams.

While voluntary testing has shown the presence of PFAS, based on information currently available, the results represent a low risk to human health.

Furthermore, no immediate changes to public activities such as swimming, boating or fishing are required.

While more testing is planned, initial results indicate that PFAS levels are decreasing as groundwater moves away from the port and are below the drinking and recreational values close to the boundary.

Importantly, no groundwater at the port is used for human consumption or recreational purposes.

No restrictions have been placed on the consumption of seafood caught in or near the port.

Anyone catching and eating seafood should follow Queensland Health’s general advice to limit their consumption of seafood to two or three serves per week and source seafood from multiple locations.

People are exposed to small amounts of PFAS in everyday life through dust, indoor and outdoor air, food and water and contact with consumer products containing these substances.

After detecting low concentrations, NQBP immediately started working with Queensland government departments and independent experts on next steps to address this matter.

Our response includes:

  • A site investigation and sampling plan, including further engagement with tenants and customers to understand current and historical uses of firefighting foam.
  • A water use survey, incorporating engagement with nearby residents to determine the presence of any bores and the need for any testing.
  • Working with environmental experts to conduct further sampling analysis and developing a quality plan for submission to the Queensland Government.
  • NQBP, in consultation with the Queensland Government, is developing a robust monitoring and assessment plan to be implemented as soon as possible.
  • NQBP takes its responsibility for the health and wellbeing of our stakeholders and the environment seriously and we will continue to engage with the community and our stakeholders when more information becomes available.

Further information on PFAS in Queensland is available on the Queensland Government website.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please call 1300 129 255 or email