AF complies with EPA order, committed to protection of human health & environment

  • Published
  • By Air Force Civil Engineer Center
  • Public Affairs
The Air Force has confirmed it will comply with an Environmental Protection Agency order to perform work necessary to clean up contaminated water at the former Pease Air Force Base, New Hampshire. 

"The Air Force is committed to the protection of human health and the environment in connection with releases or potential releases of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate at Pease," said Mark Correll, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety and Infrastructure.

"Protecting the health and safety of the Portsmouth community is our top priority," he said. "We are actively engaged and committed to continuing our work with the city, state and other health authorities to ensure we're effectively protecting drinking water sources."

The Air Force resumed operation of a water treatment system Aug. 10 at a former fire training site to help prevent migration of perfluorinated compounds, a component of a foam firefighting agent, into drinking water supplies. The treatment system had previously been used successfully to mitigate petroleum contamination, and will also reduce PFC concentrations. 

Although regulatory standards for PFCs are still evolving, the Air Force is following provisional health advisory guidelines set by the EPA. Those provisional values were used to determine that one municipal well and one private well required action to mitigate human exposure.

In addition to the treatment system, Correll said the Air Force funded hydrogeological studies to evaluate new drinking water well sites, continues to monitor the public water supply on a weekly basis, and is developing wells to intercept contaminates before they reach drinking water sources.

The former fire training site is one of several the Air Force Civil Engineer Center recently examined as part of a proactive, Air Force-wide investigation into PFC releases associated with the use of the firefighting agent.

The Air Force will meet with the community at a City of Portsmouth Community Advisory Board meeting 6:30 to 9 p.m. Aug. 26 at City Hall, 1 Junkins Ave., Portsmouth, N.H.

For more information on mitigation actions at the former Pease Air Force Base, call the Air Force Civil Engineer Center Office of Public Affairs at (866) 725-7617, or email