The New Zealand Defence Force has been asked to stop contaminating land surrounding Ohakea Air Base with chemicals from firefighting foam - and it says it has already done so.

On June 13 the Horizons Regional Council sent the Defence Force (NZDF) an abatement notice, asking it to stop washing residues from firefighting foam off hard surfaces at the base and off its fire training area area elsewhere on the base.

It was asked to cease immediately, and also to report what measures it takes to cease by July 1.

Read more: Crashed Skyhawk likely cause of water contamination in Bulls Rangitikei
Horizons Regional Council serves notice on Defence Force over foam
Further testing due to Ohakea contamination

Advertisement

The notice said persistent and toxic PFAS compounds from the foam have been found in 18 of 25 surface waters tested in the area, and can make their way into the Rangitikei River. They are also in soil and in bore water used by some people for drinking.

A groundwater contamination plume was found at least 3km to 3.5km from the boundary of the base, to the south and southwest.

The council requested information from the NZDF, and received it in April. The information from consultants indicated the force was still using foam with some of the compounds.

However NZDF suppliers say the foam it is using is a biodegradable "eco-foam", an NZDF spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also said the NZDF moved its fire training to Taranaki, using the services of Wood Group Training, in 2016. Its last use of the Ohakea fire training area was early that year.

The NZDF can be prosecuted if it does not comply with the abatement notice. It can also appeal it, or ask the Environment Court for a stay on it.