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NAS Jacksonville on HHS/Department of Defense list of bases with contaminated ground water

According to the Department of Defense list of military bases, NAS Jacksonville has 17 water monitoring wells on the property and the results are disturbing.

Naval Air Station Jacksonville is not only one of the city's largest employers with more than 7,000 civilians and 9,000 active duty. It is also a big polluter. A report by Health and Human Services (ATSDR) and the Department of Defense reveals the Jacksonville base has polluted groundwater.

The pollution comes from the chemical found in the fire fighting foam, commonly known as PFOS and PFOA.

These chemicals are hazardous and do not degrade in soil or water; it can be absorbed by humans through drinking water, or through the soil or air.

According to the Department of Defense list of military bases, NAS Jacksonville has 17 water monitoring wells on the property and the results are disturbing.

Test results from all 17 wells revealed pollution levels far above EPA levels.

The recommended EPA level for the fire fighting chemical is 70 parts per trillion (ppt).

At Naval Air Station Jacksonville the levels ranged from 3,410 to 1,397,120 ppt.

When calculated, that is as much as 19,000 times above the EPA's allowable amount.

Maureen Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Defense, in an interview with the Military Times addressed the issue of testing.

Some of these foams have been used for decades. Did DoD ever test for this before, like in the ‘70s or the ‘80s?

“No, because there was no indication from EPA that they had concerns about it being in the drinking water. It was just a foam that we used,” Sullivan said. “The science on these two compounds really wasn’t emerging until much later. It wasn’t until EPA came out with [a 2012 monitoring rule] that they said “we’re interested in finding out if it’s pervasive in the drinking water.’ So that was our first indication that they were interested.”

Now there is growing evidence of the human toll. A number of illnesses have been connected to these contaminated sites.

Sullivan said the long-term fix will include Preliminary Assessments and Site Inspections (PA/SI.) She also said many of the locations will be added to the EPA's Superfund list of locations to clean up.

She said these studies will ultimately result in remedial actions including cleanup that could take a decade or more to complete.

As for NAS Jacksonville it is in the PA/SI status.

The DOD released the following statement:

"DOD remains committed to protecting human health and the environment and is working closely with regulators and the communities around our installations. DOD tested all 524 drinking water systems operated by DOD worldwide in 2016. In each of the 24 locations that tested above the Environmental Protection Agency's Lifetime Health Advisory for PFOS and PFOA, we have taken one of the following courses of action: providing bottled water; providing a safe alternative water source, such as non-contaminated wells or connected to a municipal system; and adding treatment systems to remove contaminants." Heather Babb, DoD Spokesperson, Defense Press Office

CLICK HERE to see a link of the DoD List of bases

HHS/ATSDR is taking public comment on its study. CLICK HERE to participate.

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