The Navy is looking to test drinking water wells near Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor for two specific PFAS chemicals, known as perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate.
These chemicals are key components in Aqueous Film Forming Foam, which the Department of Defense historically has used as a firefighting agent for real-world incidents and training scenarios, according to a release from the Navy.
The testing at NBK-Bangor will determine if the contamination could have migrated through groundwater into off-base drinking water wells at levels greater than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory levels. In May of 2016, the EPA announced a lifetime health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion for both PFOS and PFOA.
The Navy has sampled Bangor’s on-base drinking water and the results did not indicate levels of PFOS and PFOA, the release states. The Navy is currently assessing locations at Bangor where PFAS-containing substances may have been used, stored, or disposed of on base.
“Since these chemicals move quickly through the soil and groundwater, these occurrences could have introduced PFAS-related chemicals into the environment surrounding the base,” the NBK release reads.
Two informational public meetings will be held in February to inform the community of the sampling program, address any public inquiries, and schedule testing appointments. Session one will be Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 4 to 6 p.m., and session two will be held Thursday, Feb. 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Both meetings will take place at the Silverdale Best Western at 3073 NW Bucklin Hill Road.
Representatives from partner agencies, including the EPA, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Department of Ecology, Department of Health, and Kitsap Public Health District will also be present at the meeting.
PFAS chemicals have been used nationwide since the 1950s in products that resist heat, stains, grease, and water, according to the release. They have been used in a variety of products and substances such as non-stick cookware, food packaging such as microwaveable popcorn bags, and water-resistant textiles and sprays used to treat carpets and fabrics.
For more information on PFAS at local naval installations, visit navfac.navy.mil/NWPFAS.