Australian engineers claim to have developed a world-first solution to stop the spread of potentially toxic PFAS compounds.

PFAS, historically used in products such as firefighting foams, do not break down easily and can lead to ground and water contamination.

Contamination has been detected at Melbourne Airport and some Brimbank waterways.

Engineers Australia Victorian president Grant Scott said a newly developed product has been found to stop the spread of PFAS from concrete.

He said the product, X55, creates a barrier which helps to encapsulate and stabilise the contaminants.

“Part of the issue is that concrete is like a sponge,” Mr Scott said.

“Once it [PFAS compounds] are in it, it lasts a long time.

“When it rains, it resolubilises and can flow across into ground water, which is how it ends up in soil and waterways.

“We’re going after the primary source first, then we’ll look at secondary sources.”

X55 is non-toxic and can be sprayed or layered on to materials as a paste.

Mr Scott said X55 had been tested for four years, including at airports. …

He said he believed Melbourne Airport was interested in current field trial results.