Low levels of PFAS found at Elanora Sewage Treatment Plant site

9 September 2020

Trace amounts of Per and Poly-FluoroAlkyl Substances (PFAS) have been detected in soil and groundwater samples at City of Gold Coast’s  Elanora Sewage Treatment Plant site.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads detected the PFAS while undertaking routine soil sampling for the widening of the M1 project.

The City is working closely with The Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) and Queensland Health (QH) to further investigate the issue.

Initial City investigations suggest the PFAS originated from sewage flows into the Sewage Treatment Plant from households and commercial businesses. Its presence does not appear to be related to any chemical products utilised at or around the Sewage Treatment Plant. 

In coming weeks the City will be conducting an environmental survey in areas adjacent to the Treatment Plant site to better understand the quality and usage of local groundwater.

We will keep the community fully informed of the investigation outcome and liaise directly with customers in adjacent areas as required.


  • Per and Poly-FluoroAlkyl Substances (PFAS) are a group of manufactured chemicals that are resistant to heat, water and oil and have been used since the 1950s.
  • PFAS are commonly found in the environment at low levels due to their wide-spread use in consumer and speciality products over many decades.
  • PFAS can be found in a range of common household products and specialty applications. This includes applications in non-stick cookware, fabric, furniture, carpet stain protection and food packaging. PFAS have also been previously used in industrial processes and in fire-fighting foams. 
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