Navy to sample drinking water wells near NAS Whiting Field for cancerous chemical

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Press release from Naval Air Station Whiting Field

NAS WHITING FIELD, Fla. (WKRG) — The U.S. Navy is preparing to sample drinking water wells near Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field’s Outlying Landing Fields (OLFs) in Florida and Alabama beginning in June. The investigation includes OLFs Evergreen, Brewton, Silverhill, Summerdale, Barin and Wolf in Alabama; and OLFs Harold, Pace, Spencer, Santa Rosa and Holley in Florida.

The Navy will be sampling drinking water wells within a designated sampling area at each OLF for certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. PFAS have been used nationwide since the 1950s in products that resist heat, stains, grease and water. They have been used in a variety of products and substances such as non-stick cookware, food packaging such as microwaveable popcorn bags, water-resistant textiles and sprays used to treat carpets and fabrics. PFAS are key components in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF).

The Navy would like to sample drinking water wells to determine if AFFF or other PFAS-containing materials used at a NAS Whiting Field OLF have migrated through groundwater into off-base drinking water wells at levels greater than U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory levels for two specific PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

American Cancer Society: perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).

In May 2016, the EPA announced a lifetime health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for both PFOS and PFOA. Although these health advisory levels are not enforceable regulatory standards, the Navy is proactively seeking to identify drinking water wells that may contain levels of PFOA and/or PFOS greater than the EPA lifetime health advisory. To do this, the Navy needs to sample drinking water wells in the designated sampling area.

The Navy has mailed a letter to property owners in the designated sampling area, for each OLF, to provide further information and to request permission to sample their drinking water. Sampling will be available to property owners within the designated sampling area at no cost.

Due to COVID-19, the Navy will host an online “virtual” open house to inform the public and provide answers to questions about upcoming efforts to sample drinking water wells near the OLFs for PFAS. The online virtual public meeting will be available beginning June 4 at https://WhitingFieldPFAS.com.

This online presentation will be available for the public with materials that may be downloaded for more information. There will also be contact information for Navy representatives, along with partnering agencies including, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Alabama Department of Public Health, and the Florida Department of Health, with representatives who are also available to answer questions.

To schedule a drinking well sampling appointment, call 844-NASWFLD (844-627-9353).

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