By Peak Johnson
Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) have been 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.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, tests have shown “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.”
Roberts told the Inquirer that the base is working on giving the homes that have been affected bottles of water while officials attempt to figure out ways to remedy the problem.
The base “spreads over 42,000 acres and straddles parts of eight municipalities in Burlington and Ocean Counties. About 3,700 military and civilian personnel work on the base.”
The Inquirer reported that the “highest level was 264,300 parts per trillion — or 3,775 times the federally recommended level — found in underground water on the base, according to Roberts, who said he knows of no evidence that the affected aquifer supplies drinking water.”
Of 30 ponds and streams that had been tested on the base, “19 showed evidence of contamination, with samples ranging from 12.5 to 8,830 parts per trillion. The testing at Joint Base is part of a nationwide effort by the military to deal with contamination from PFOS and PFOA.”
Recently, residents of Pennsylvania’s Bucks and Montgomery Counties, near Philadelphia, joined together in a lawsuit against six manufacturers of firefighting foams dealing with personal injury claims.
The Bucks County Courier Times reported that, “the foams are believed to have been used for decades at military bases in the area, and also are believed to be the source of regional drinking water contamination by unregulated chemicals PFOS… and PFOA.”
Earlier this year, “under co-operative agreements signed with neighboring townships, the Navy has paid to connect homes with contaminated private wells to public water systems,” the Courier Times reported.
Navy officials had said during that time that the department agreed to pay $9.3 million for clean-up operations.
To read more about PFOA and PFOS contamination visit Water Online’s Source Water Contamination Solutions Center.
Image credit: "Lakenheath airbase - aerial, October 2014" John Fielding © 2014 used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/