Department of Defense Announces PFAS Interim Cleanup Actions at Former Wurtsmith Air Force Base

  • Published
  • Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante today announced the Department of the Air Force will undertake two significant new actions to expedite the cleanup of DoD’s per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) releases at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Iosco County, Michigan. 

These efforts will prevent further migration of PFAS-impacted groundwater into adjacent surface waters. Specifically, the Department of the Air Force will install groundwater treatment systems at two additional Wurtsmith sites, the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office and Landfills 30/31. This will stop the flow of PFAS-impacted groundwater from both source areas into nearby Van Etten Lake.

“Implementation of these new interim actions is a step in the right direction for the Wurtsmith community,” LaPlante said. “While I am proud of today’s tangible progress, we also recognize there is still more work to do, and I look forward to building upon them as we continue honoring our commitment.”

DoD is committed to addressing its PFAS releases as quickly as possible under federal cleanup law. This process allows, and the Department supports, the military departments taking interim actions to prevent further migration of PFAS from current and former DoD installations. To that end, on July 11, the Department issued guidance directing the Military Departments to take these types of actions and the Department of the Air Force is leading the way implementing this guidance by committing to undertake these two actions at Wurtsmith.

The projects will be conducted in partnership with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and other local government and community groups.

“We are incredibly appreciative of Senator Peters and Stabenow; Representatives Slotkin, Kildee, and Bergman; Governor Whitmer; and the rest of the Michigan delegation for their continued partnership and advocacy for their local communities. We will remain in close consultation with their respective offices as we continue taking action at Wurtsmith,” LaPlante added.

“The Department of the Air Force is committed to continuously improving the responsiveness of clean-up efforts at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base,” said Dr. Ravi Chaudhary, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations, and Environment. “We will continue to collaborate with our regulatory and community partners by transparently applying innovative tools and solutions that best protect the surrounding community.”

Wurtsmith Air Force Base served primarily as a combat crew and bomber training base throughout its 70-year history and operated from 1923 until decommissioned in 1993.