An office building, two homes and a shopping center with five businesses are now receiving bottled water from the Dover Air Force Base after elevated levels ofchemicals used in airport firefighting efforts were detected.
The Air Force and Dover Air Force Base notified Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Division of Public Health that four wells near the base sampled by the federal government for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), have shown levels above the US Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory for these substances of 70 parts per trillion. The tests were made last week.
The owners of the four wells have been notified and have been provided with bottled water by Dover Air Force Base.
Elevated levels of similar chemicals were found in wells in the area around New Castle Airport. Water is now treated and testing was announced earlier this for a sampling of residents of the area, Delaware Public Media reported.
PFOS and PFOA are chemicals used in a variety of products that over time have become widely distributed in the environment – and have been found at Dover AFB and other air bases and airports in firefighting foam.
The Air Force and EPA have been working with DNREC and DPH to determine the impacts of PFOS and PFOA on private wells around the base.
A USAF fact sheet about the Dover AFB PFOS and PFOA sampling published in late spring said that groundwater samples collected in shallow monitoring wells on the base showed levels of PFOS and PFOA above the EPA’s health advisory. “Based on these results, actions have been undertaken to ensure that drinking water at DAFB and the surrounding community is not impacted,” the fact sheet noted.
No PFOS or PFOA were detected in five nearby municipal water wells tested sampled in November 2014 by Dover AFB’s water supplier, Tidewater Utilities. Tidewater sampled four on-base municipal supply wells and the off-base municipal supply well nearest the base. All of these wells draw water from a deep, confined aquifer, and there were no PFOS or PFOA detected.
Representatives from Air Force this year then began contacting owners and users of private or commercial wells on properties near the northwest and east boundaries of the base and asked permission to take drinking water samples. The four private wells that returned elevated levels of PFOS and PFOA on July 12 are located along those boundaries.
Remedies may which may consist of treatment, connecting to a new system, or other solution.
The Department of Public Health says the affected businesses, office building, and dwellings in the affected area should use the bottled water provided by the DAFB until a permanent solution is in place.
Anyone with specific health concerns or questions about potential health impacts is encouraged to contact their primary care provider. General questions canbe answered by calling the state at 302-745-4546.