News Feature | April 18, 2017

Naval Air Station To Test For PFAS In Neighboring Wells

Dominique 'Peak' Johnson

By Peak Johnson

The Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian, near Meridian, MS, is requesting permission from some of its neighbors to test drinking water wells for chemical contamination this month.

The tests will seek to identify any polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) in the drinking supplies, according to Capt. Scott Bunnay, NAS Meridian’s commanding officer, per The Meridian Star.

The substances could be “present in the soil and or groundwater at Navy sites from previous firefighting instances.” Bunnay added that “If PFAS are in the groundwater there is the possibility for the substances to also be present in private drinking water wells near NAS Meridian.”

Testing will be free and is scheduled to take place in the middle of April. In May of last year the U.S. EPA issued a health advisory for both perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The advisory “recommends that drinking water not exceed 70 parts per trillion of PFOS and PFOA, either individually or combined.”

So far, there have been three wells off base that have been identified for testing. Bunnay added that “If the wells to be tested are found to be above the EPA health advisory level, we will provide bottled water."

"This proactive Navy effort aims to identify potential exposure to unregulated compounds in our neighbors' drinking water coming from private wells," Bunnay said. "The Navy is committed to sharing additional information as it becomes available throughout the testing process."

Earlier this month, PFOS and PFOAs were found to contaminate the ground, surface, and drinking water on and around Joint Base McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst, where the chemicals were used for many years as part of firefighting foam.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that tests showed “levels 20 to thousands of times higher in some samples than federally recommended standards.” Staff Sgt. Dustin Roberts said last week that “Three of 131 private wells tested at homes off the base show evidence of the fluorinated chemicals known as PFOS and PFOA.”

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Source Water Contamination Solutions Center.