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Navy receives validated private drinking water test results for NAS Whiting Field

27 April 2021

From Julie Ziegenhorn

NAS Whiting Field officials have received final testing results for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, from 24 private drinking water wells that surround the installation.

Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field officials have received final results from the sampling of 24 private drinking water wells in the designated sampling area surrounding NAS Whiting Field. An independent contractor conducted the testing in March and an independent laboratory reported the results.

Validated drinking water test results have indicated that 3 of the 24 private drinking water wells tested near NAS Whiting Field were above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) of 70 parts per trillion (PPT) for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS and specifically addresses perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The U.S. Navy will step out an additional half mile from the area where the LHA exceedances were found to conduct additional sampling.

“It is Navy policy to continue to sample off base in the direction of the ground water flow until we no longer have any exceedance in a private drinking water well,” said Jeff Kissler, NAS Whiting Field installation environmental program director. “An alternate source of drinking water was immediately provided to the three property owners when the Navy received the preliminary results.”

All property owners, who had their private drinking water well sampled, will receive official notice of the validated results by the end of April.

The Navy voluntarily began testing the private drinking water wells within identified areas around NAS Whiting Field in March as part of its ongoing investigation regarding the Navy’s past use of chemicals collectively referred to as “PFAS” aboard the base. This is part of Navy’s ongoing testing of drinking water that is currently taking place at and near Navy installations across the nation.

Sampling status for NAS Whiting Field:

  NAS Whiting Field Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling Status as of April 20, 2021

Properties Navy Requested to Sample

Properties that Allowed Navy to Sample

Validated Sample Results Received

Validated Results – PFOA and/or PFOS not detected

Validated Results – PFOA and/or PFOS detections below the EPA LHA

Validated Results  - PFOA and/or PFOS detections above the EPA LHA

54

24

24

5

16

3

Notification has been sent to property owners in the extended area requesting to let the Navy sample their drinking water well beginning April 26.

Anyone living in the initial designated area, or the extended area, that would like to request to have their private drinking water well tested should contact 844-627-9353 to schedule an appointment.

Virtual Open House documents and the Fact Sheet for the initial sampling, along with information on the extended sampling area, can be found online at http://go.usa.gov/xAEQF.

“I am committed to keeping our neighbors and the local community informed as this investigation progresses,” said NAS Whiting Field Commanding Officer Capt. Paul Flores. “Once we have conducted the second round of sampling for the extended area, we will conduct another virtual Open House to help explain results that have been found in our area, what it means, and the way forward for these residents.”

PFAS are man-made chemicals persistent in the environment that are not absorbed well in soil and could migrate to groundwater.  PFAS have been used for many years to make products that resist heat, stains, grease and water, and have been used in a variety of products and substances, such as non-stick pans; water resistant textiles and sprays with water resistant properties.

In May 2016, the EPA issued LHA levels for two PFAS, specifically perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), at 70 PPT, individually and combined if both are present.  While there are no EPA regulations for these compounds, the EPA established these LHA levels to offer a margin of protection for all Americans throughout their life from potential adverse health effects resulting from exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.

The most common historical Navy use of these chemicals has been firefighting foam (AFFF) used on Navy installations. AFFF is the most effective way to put out petroleum-based fires, such as an aircraft accident. The Navy no longer conducts training using AFFF, but does continue to use a newer type of AFFF for emergencies.

In June 2016, the Navy issued a policy to identify areas of potential release of these materials to the environment.  As part of this policy, the Navy is testing for PFOS and PFOA in and around NAS Whiting Field.

For more information on the NAS Whiting Field PFAS investigation, please visit: http://go.usa.gov/xAEQF for the 2021 off-base investigation, https://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrse/installations/nas_whiting_field/om/environmental_support/PFAStesting.html for 2020 on-base results, and https://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrse/installations/nas_whiting_field/om/environmental_support/pfctesting.html  for the 2017 PFAS off base investigation results.

For media queries, please contact NAS Whiting Field Public Affairs at 850-623-7341 or whtg_naswf_pao.fct@navy.mil.

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