Air Force, EPA work together to protect drinking water

  • Published
  • By AFCEC
  • Public Affairs
Through a cooperative effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Air Force has provided a statement of intent to EPA's Region I administrator to both assure the safety of the drinking water from wells on the former Pease Air Force Base and address environmental contamination from perfluorinated chemicals in the underlying aquifer.  The Air Force's statement of intent was positively received by EPA Region 1.

As part of this effort, the Air Force is pursuing options to treat the water from three drinking water production wells on the Pease Tradeport that have shown some level of contamination from PFCs. The PFCs in the groundwater aquifer supplying these wells are suspected to have originated from the use of fire-fighting foam in response to a New Hampshire Air National Guard KC-135 fire on the Pease airfield in 1990.

The Air Force has from the beginning given its firm commitment that it will implement all the work EPA requires under the Safe Drinking Water Act Administrative Order EPA issued to the Air Force, while also beginning a parallel effort under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act procedures to conduct investigations, define approaches to address PFC contamination in the aquifer,  and take any necessary response actions to address unacceptable risks posed by PFCs in the aquifer. 

The Air Force, EPA and New Hampshire were already parties to a 1991 Federal Facilities Agreement that provides a framework and process to address environmental cleanup at Pease.  Due to a concern about the appropriate procedural approach for PFCs at Pease, the Air Force had recently contemplated raising a dispute with EPA under the FFA. However, the recent cooperative efforts with EPA remove any need to pursue that dispute.

"Our primary objective from the very beginning has been the protection of the health and safety of the local community and the environment," said Miranda Ballentine, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy. "This statement of intent is a result of collaboration between the Air Force and EPA to ensure we meet this objective." 

For more information on PFC mitigation actions at the former Pease Air Force Base, visit: You can also call Air Force Civil Engineer Center Public Affairs at (866) 725-7617 or email