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Air Force Actions

 

Air Force Actions

AFCEC's sampling, investigation work and response actions are guided by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA, applicable state laws and the EPA's Lifetime Health Advisory, or LHA, for drinking water.

The Air Force is conducting enterprise-wide sampling of drinking water for PFOS and PFOA in response to the EPA's LHA to ensure drinking water supplies meet EPA guidelines. The Air Force is conducting additional investigation work and groundwater sampling stateside to identify release sites and fully characterize and define contamination.

Drinking water sampling

Base drinking water personnel are evaluating base drinking water supplies Air Force-wide. Additionally, AFCEC is conducting investigations to identify potential AFFF releases and characterize the PFOS/PFOA contamination pathway where a possibility to reach a drinking water source exists.
 

 
Investigating AFFF releases

In the continental U.S., AFCEC is conducting investigative work in conjunction with the drinking water sampling program to fully characterize and define PFOS/PFOA contamination.
 
Preliminary Assessments by PA: Step 1

Review historical base data and records to identify AFFF releases and potential for drinking water impacts.

Gather data to further investigate possible drinking water contamination. Sampling is prioritized by factors such as: potential pathways to drinking water, depth to groundwater and potential for contaminants to migrate off base.

Remedial Investigations by RI: Step 3

Further investigation to characterize and define contamination found during the SI phase. The RI phase of CERCLA investigates off site contamination.


Preventing future contamination

As part of the Air Force's enterprise-wide effort to reduce further contamination, the Air Force is swapping out legacy Aqueous Film Forming Foam for a more environmentally responsible replacement.

In November 2015, Naval Sea Systems Command, the organization responsible for the military specification for Department of Defense firefighting foam, added new, more environmentally responsible AFFF formulas to the qualified products list. The new products tend to be less toxic, are not considered bioaccumulative and are PFOS-free and contain only trace amounts of PFOA. The Air Force is retrofitting fire vehicles with an Eco-Logic system that supports fire protection training needs and is environmentally friendly. The new system bypasses the tank containing AFFF and, instead, flows water through the extinguishing system and the cart, gathering data readings and discharging water from the vehicle's turret. The Air Force also modified training procedures to further reduce contamination risks.