How is ATSDR involved investigating PFAS in the environment?

Region 1

Southern New Hampshire (NH)

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) tested public and private drinking water supplies in the Southern New Hampshire area that may have been contaminated by discharges from nearby factories. Some of the public and private wells are contaminated with PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). The state is taking actions to address the contamination. ATSDR is evaluating the test results to determine if drinking the water may harm people’s health and will provide the findings in a written report.

Background on the investigation is available via the NHDES website at https://www4.des.state.nh.us/nh-pfas-investigation/external icon

Pease International Tradeport (aka Former Pease Air Force Base) (NH)

The City of Portsmouth, working with the NH Department of Environmental Services and the NH Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS), tested the Pease International Tradeport drinking water wells for PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in May 2014. One of three wells had elevated levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate). The City of Portsmouth took the well off-line. PFAS were found in the other Tradeport wells, and in some residential private drinking water wells located near the site. The source of PFAS in the groundwater is likely past use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used at the former Pease Air Force Base.  ATSDR evaluated the test results from contaminated city and private wells to determine if drinking water from these wells may harm people’s health. A report that evaluated these findings was released for public comment April 1, 2019.  The report can be found at htts://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/investigation-pease.htmexternal icon.   ATSDR is currently preparing a report evaluating PFAS exposures from private wells in the area. ATSDR has created a Community Assistance Panel (CAP) to receive input from community members about health studies.  For more information, visit the CAP website at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/pease/cap.html

In 2019, ATSDR initiated the Pease Study, a health study that will look at the association between health outcomes and PFAS exposure to expand the PFAS science base.

The NH DHHS provides information about the site at https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/investigation-pease.htmexternal icon In 2015, NH DHHS tested the blood of people who worked on, lived on, or attended childcare on the Pease Tradeport or Pease Air Force Base, and drank water from contaminated wells. A copy of the report is available at https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/documents/pease-pfc-blood-testing.pdfexternal icon

North Bennington PFOA Well Water (VT)

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VDEC) found PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) in private drinking water wells in North Bennington.  VDEC is testing private wells within a 1.5-mile radius of the former ChemFab site to see how widespread the contamination is. The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) asked NCEH/ATSDR for technical support in addressing health issues.

Visit the VT DPH for more information about PFOA at http://healthvermont.gov/response/environmental/pfoa-drinking-water-2016external icon

Hampden County near Barnes Air National Guard Base (MA)

As early as the 1980s, the Barnes Air National Guard Base (the Base) used aqueous film forming foam containing PFAS for its firefighting training. These compounds later moved off-site in groundwater, likely affecting both municipal and private drinking water wells located downgradient of the Base.

In 2013, when PFAS was first detected, the Westfield Water Department and the Massachusetts Department Environmental Protection (MassDEP) took actions to ensure the quality of the drinking water in Westfield. These actions over the next several years included removing three drinking water supply wells from service and placing temporary water restrictions on all non-essential water use. Presently, the Westfield Department of Public Works (DPW) – Water Division’s primary sources of drinking water are from surface water and groundwater sources meeting federal and state PFAS guidelines. The Westfield DPW-Water Division installed a temporary treatment system.  This system ensures that PFAS levels in the treated water are below detection limits. The Westfield DPW-Water Division is in the process of installing permanent treatment on its four affected wells. The Westfield DPW-Water Division continues to test its water sources and pursue system improvements to address PFAS contamination. Nearby private wells were sampled and, if needed, filtration systems were installed.

ATSDR is conducting an Exposure Assessment at this site. The primary goal of the exposure assessment is to provide information to the community about levels of PFAS in their bodies. This information might be used to help inform future studies evaluating the impact of PFAS exposure on human health.

More information is available at: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/communities/Hampden-County-MA.html

Region 2

Community Water Systems (CWS) and Private Wells in Gloucester County (NJ)

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network petitioned ATSDR to investigate whether residents of Gloucester County, NJ, were exposed to harmful levels of PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid) and other PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in their drinking water.  The petition was accepted, and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJ DOH) is responding to the petition under ATSDR’s Partnership to Promote Local Efforts to Reduce Environmental Exposure (APPLETREE) program.

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJ DOH) is reviewing public and private water sample results to see if people have been exposed to PFAS, and if the exposure could harm their health. ATSDR will provide technical support to the NJ DOH and will review their reports.

Orange County near Stewart Air National Guard Base (NY)

PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) were found in a public water supply and private drinking water wells in the City of Newburgh. The City of Newburgh’s public water supply is considered acceptable for all uses at this time.  The city is currently drawing water from the New York City Aqueduct tap. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) provided bottled water where PFAS were found in private wells as an interim measure.  They installed point of entry treatment (POET) systems or connections to the municipal water supply as long-term solutions. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) evaluated the test results and will complete a written report with their findings. ATSDR will provide technical support to the NYSDOH and will review their reports.

ATSDR will conduct a PFAS Exposure Assessment in this community in 2020.

Visit the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website for more information about past and ongoing activities at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/108825.htmlexternal icon.  Information is also available at the NYSDOH website: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/newburgh/index.htmexternal icon

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics (NY)

The Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Site in Hoosick Falls, NY, was added to the National Priorities List on July 31, 2017. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is evaluating drinking water test results and is completing a written report of their findings.  The Hoosick Falls water treatment plant has added treatment to remove PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) from the drinking water.    ATSDR will provide technical support to the NYSDOH and will review their reports. The Village’s full capacity municipal filtration system consists of two granular activated carbon (GAC) filters that are effectively removing PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) from public water.

Visit the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website for more information about past and ongoing activities in the Hoosick Falls area at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/108791.htmlexternal icon Visit the NYSDOH website for additional information at https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/hoosick/external icon

Westhampton (NY) near Gabreski Air National Guard Base

In 2018, the NYSDOH received a grant from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with support from CDC/ATSDR, to implement a pilot biomonitoring study using the CDC/ATSDR PFAS Exposures Assessment Technical Tools (PEATT). More information is available here: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/drinkingwaterresponse/docs/westhampton_quogue_group_level_blood_testingexternal icon

Region 3

Bucks County and Montgomery County Biomonitoring Pilot near Former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, active Horsham Air Guard Station, and former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster (PA)

In 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) received a grant from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with support from CDC/ATSDR, to implement a pilot biomonitoring study using the CDC/ATSDR PFAS Exposures Assessment Technical Tools (PEATT).  PADOH implemented the PEATT Pilot Project in Montgomery and Bucks counties near the Willow Grove and Warminster sites, including the towns of Ambler, Horsham, Hatboro, Chalfont, Warminster, Jamison, Warrington, and North Wales.  The PEATT was designed to characterize exposure in an affected population using biomonitoring.  It includes a protocol for statistically based representative sampling, risk communication materials, questionnaires, and a water sampling protocol.  The work that has taken place by PADOH will ultimately contribute to the overall body of knowledge we have on the topic of PFAS and refine what is needed to describe exposure in a community.

PADOH released the PEATT Pilot Project Final Report in April 2019. CDC and ASTHO are expanding the PEATT project to include further testing of the original PADOH PEATT pilot study participants and potential environmental exposures in the community. This will include urine, water, and household dust analyses. Additional information and details on PADOH’s PFAS activities can be found at: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/envirohealth/Pages/PFAS.aspxexternal icon

Former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, Bucks County (PA)

Groundwater at the former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster site is contaminated with PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances).   The source of PFAS in the groundwater is likely past use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) in the area. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Navy tested private drinking water wells in the Warminster, Ivyland, Warwick, Northampton and upper Southampton townships. Some wells are contaminated with PFAS.  In 2016, ATSDR produced a letter health consultation that evaluated the available off-site water test results. The report is available at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/pha/NavalAirWarfareCenter/Naval_Air_Warfare_Center_LHC_01-20-2016_508.pdf pdf icon[PDF – 2.26 MB]

ATSDR is working with the Mid Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment to answer health questions and to educate local health professionals about potential health effects caused by exposure to PFAS.

In 2017, ATSDR collaborated with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) to produce an initial review of the state cancer registry data for communities surrounding the site.  In 2018, PADOH added pancreatic and pediatric cancers to the review.  In May 2018, PADOH released an update of the 2017 report.  The PADOH cancer incidence reviews can be found at https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/envirohealth/Pages/PFAS.aspxexternal icon

In 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) received a grant from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with support from CDC/ATSDR, to implement a pilot biomonitoring study using the CDC/ATSDR PFAS Exposures Assessment Technical Tools (PEATT).  This site was included in the study.  Additional information and details on PADOH’s PFAS activities can be found at: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/envirohealth/Pages/PFAS.aspxexternal icon

Former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NASJRB) Willow Grove and active Horsham Air Guard Station, Horsham, Montgomery County (PA)

Groundwater at the former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and active Horsham Air Guard Station is contaminated with PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Some public water supply wells in Horsham and Warrington Townships are contaminated with PFAS.  The drinking water is being treated to remove PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances).  The PFAS levels in the drinking water are below the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)Health Advisory (HA) for PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid).  The utilities continue to test the water for PFOS and PFOA. The Department of Defense asked the EPA to test private well water near the site.  Some private wells in Horsham, Warminster and Warrington are contaminated with PFAS. The source of PFAS is likely past use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) in the area.

EPA asked ATSDR to evaluate PFAS water sampling results in the public and private wells. ATSDR is currently preparing a written report that evaluates public and private drinking water sampling data near the site.

ATSDR is working with the Mid Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment to answer the community’s health questions and to educate local health professionals about possible health effects caused by exposure to PFAS.

In 2017, ATSDR collaborated with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) to produce an initial review of the state cancer registry data for communities surrounding the site.  In 2018, PADOH added pancreatic and pediatric cancers to the review.  In May 2018, PADOH released an update of the 2017 report.  The PADOH cancer incidence reviews can be found at https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/envirohealth/Pages/PFAS.aspxexternal icon

In 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) received a grant from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with support from CDC/ATSDR, to implement a pilot biomonitoring study using the CDC/ATSDR PFAS Exposures Assessment Technical Tools (PEATT).  This site was included in the study.  Additional information and details on PADOH’s PFAS activities can be found at: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/envirohealth/Pages/PFAS.aspxexternal icon

Wallops Flight Center – NASA (VA)

The NASA Wallops Flight Center is located on Wallops Island, VA, near the Town of Chincoteague (ToC). Two of the three ToC shallow wells, and the deep well adjacent to them, are contaminated with PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) above the EPA Health Advisory (HA) for PFAS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). The shallow wells, and the adjacent deep well are no longer being used for drinking water. Samples collected between the NASA fire training area and a residential community west of the facility contained traces of PFOA and PFOS that were below the HA.

The NASA and ToC water supplies are routinely tested, and sample results indicate there are no detectable levels of PFOA or PFOS in the finished drinking water. NASA will continue to test drinking water supplies for PFAS. NASA is installing groundwater monitoring wells to monitor PFAS levels in the shallow groundwater along the site boundary. There are several oyster beds near the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the local population is concerned about whether the PFAS contamination might be impacting the oyster industry. Further PFAS environmental characterization work is in progress at this site.  ATSDR is providing public health education and technical assistance support.

US Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress (VA)

In January 2016, the Navy sampled groundwater monitoring wells and the on-base drinking water wells at Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress (NALF). PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) were found in the monitoring wells and on-base drinking water supply wells.  The NALF drinking water supply wells were shut down, and the base was supplied with bottled water. Private wells located off-site were sampled, and some wells contained PFOS and PFOA above the EPA Health Advisory (HA). The Navy is providing alternative water to residences with contaminated wells and is sampling the wells quarterly. The source of the PFAS is believed to be aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used for firefighting exercises conducted at the site.

The Navy has installed a total of 47 on-base groundwater monitoring wells to identify the area where groundwater is contaminated.  The Navy is offering routine drinking water sampling until PFAS contamination in groundwater in the area is understood.  ATSDR and the Virginia Department of Health are providing health education and technical assistance.

For more information, visit the Navy website at: https://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrma/installations/nas_oceana/om/environmental_support/NALF_fentress_drinking_water.htmlexternal icon

Oceana Naval Air Station (NAS Oceana) (VA)

Groundwater at the NAS Oceana was tested for PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances), following detections of PFAS at nearby Fentress. On-site sampling found PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) combined exceeded the EPA PFAS and PFOA Health Advisory (HA). Off-site sampling did not detect levels above EPA’s HA. The source of the PFAS is believed to be aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used in training activities in the area. ATSDR is providing health education and technical support. In 2018, PFAS was found in one private well offsite; the Navy is now planning additional sampling.

For more information visit the following website: https://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/cnrma/installations/nas_oceana/om/environmental_support/oceana_drinking_water.htmlexternal icon

Blades (DE)

The Town of Blades, Delaware, found PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in its three public water supply wells in 2018.  The Town added granular activated carbon (GAC) to its water treatment facility and almost immediately reached non-detect levels of PFAS in the finished drinking water.

EPA and the state are investigating the Procino Plating facility nearby. Operations at the site include ornamental plating with copper, nickel and chrome; silver and nickel plating, and fabrication and hard chrome plating of griddle tops. Residents adjacent to the site on the west use private wells for their drinking water. The site is located within the Wellhead Protection Area for the Town of Blades water supply wells. The Town of Blades water supply wells are located approximately 1,300 feet north of the Procino Plating property. PFAS were detected in a shallow well on the Procino Plating site, and in private water wells nearby. EPA sampled 44 private wells in the area in 2018.  A few test results exceeded the EPA health advisory for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate). The state provided homeowners above the EPA health advisory with a home carbon filtration system.

For more information visit the following website:  https://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/hsp/files/bladesdrinkingwaterfactsheet.pdf pdf icon[PDF – 88.8 KB]external icon.

Naval Support Center Mechanicsburg (PA)

The Department of the Navy is evaluating PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination in groundwater at this location. The Navy conducted an off-base PFAS private well sampling program in 2019.  As of summer 2019, 55 wells have been sampled to date, with 54 of the 55 results below the U.S. EPA health advisory levels for PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). The Dept. of the Navy will continue to make sampling of private wells available through the end of September 2019.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) is providing health education and technical assistance at this site.  ATSDR is providing technical assistance upon request.

For additional information visit the following web site:  https://www.navfac.navy.mil/products_and_services/ev/products_and_services/env_restoration/installation_map/navfac_atlantic/midlant/mechanicsburg/mechanicsburg_pfas.htmlexternal icon.

Dover Air Force Base (DE)

In 2019, groundwater samples collected in shallow monitoring wells on the Dover Air Force Base (AFB) in Dover, Delaware, contained levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) above EPA’s 70 ppt health advisory. Subsequently, levels of PFOS and PFOA above EPA’s health advisory were detected in four drinking water wells near the base. The owners of the four wells – which provide water to a shopping center with five businesses, two residences, and an office building – have been notified and provided with bottled water by Dover AFB.

The US Air Force and EPA have been working with the state to determine the impacts of PFOS and PFOA on private wells located near the base.  No PFOS or PFOA were detected in five nearby municipal water wells tested in November 2014 by Tidewater Utilities, Dover AFB’s water supplier. Tidewater sampled four on-base municipal supply wells and the off-base municipal supply well nearest the base. ATSDR is providing public health education and technical assistance.

Berkeley County (WV), near Shepherd Field Air National Guard Base

The Shepherd Field Air National Guard Base previously used aqueous film-forming foam containing PFAS to fight fires and train workers. These compounds later moved off-site in groundwater, likely affecting the City of Martinsburg’s Big Springs well. Drinking water from this well supplies both City of Martinsburg and a small percentage of Berkeley County customers. Residents who may have been affected include those who live in areas south of the Big Springs treatment plant and those City of Martinsburg residents who are connected to the municipal water supply and live west of Interstate 81 (I-81) or in the Amber Woods housing complex (east of I-81).

PFAS was first detected in the Big Springs well in February 2014. Levels did not exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provisional health advisory level (level used in 2014). In 2016, EPA issued a health advisory (HA) for the sum of two PFAS compounds — perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) —at 70 parts per trillion (ppt). This prompted the City of Martinsburg to take its Big Springs well out of service until a treatment system was installed to remove PFAS from the well water. Martinsburg now conducts routine monitoring to ensure treatment is effectively removing PFAS to levels well below the revised health advisory. In 2017, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) tested for PFOS/PFOA in private well water in the vicinity of the base. All water sample results were below EPA’s HA for PFOS and PFOA.

ATSDR is conducting an Exposure Assessment at this site. The primary goal of the exposure assessment is to provide information to the community about levels of PFAS in their bodies. This information might be used to help inform future studies evaluating the impact of PFAS exposure on human health.

For more information visit the following website: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/communities/Berkeley-County-WV.html

New Castle County (DE), near New Castle Air National Guard Base

The New Castle Air National Guard Base used aqueous film forming foam containing PFAS for firefighting training in the past. Groundwater sources used for drinking water in areas east and southeast of the base were contaminated with PFAS. Residents who may have been affected include those who live in and near the City of New Castle.

In 2014, two drinking water systems serving the New Castle area, Artesian Water and Municipal Services Commission (MSC) of the City of New Castle, were found to contain PFAS levels exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) health advisory.

After receiving the PFAS test results, both water systems upgraded their systems to reduce PFAS exposures, including installation of granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration systems. In 2017, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reported that the GAC filtration systems had reduced levels of two specific PFAS, PFOS and PFOA, below the EPA health advisory.

ATSDR is conducting an Exposure Assessment at this site. The primary goal of the exposure assessment is to provide information to the community about levels of PFAS in their bodies. This information might be used to help inform future studies evaluating the impact of PFAS exposure on human health.

For more information visit the following website: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/communities/New-Castle-County-DE.html

Region 4

Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport (MS)

The Navy completed an investigation to identify the area of contamination and address the PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in the groundwater at the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport. Records show that aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a fire suppressant agent, was used at the Former Firefighting Training Area from 1966 to 1975. AFFF contains PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), the likely source of PFAS contamination in the groundwater.   PFOS and PFOA have been detected in shallow groundwater monitoring wells at the Former Firefighting Training Area. ATSDR will continue to provide technical support to the Navy on request.

US Naval Air Station Meridian (MS)

The Navy is investigating PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in the groundwater at NAS Meridian. Records show that aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a fire suppressant agent, was used at the site in the past. AFFF contains PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), the likely source of PFAS contamination in the groundwater.   ATSDR will continue to provide technical support to the Navy on request.

Marine Corp Air Station Outlying Field Atlantic (NC)

The Marine Corp Outlying Field Atlantic (MCAS) is located approximately 26 miles east of MCAS Cherry Point. Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a fire suppressant agent, may have been stored at the site for firefighting purposes in the past. AFFF contains PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid).  AFFF is the likely source of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination in the groundwater.   The residents in the town of Atlantic, NC, located adjacent to the site, rely on private water wells for drinking water. Private well water testing in 2017 and 2018 identified one private drinking water well that slightly exceeded the EPA Health Advisory (HA) for PFOA and PFOS. The residence has been provided with an alternate drinking water supply.  ATSDR will continue to provide technical support to the Navy on request.

Region 5

US Army National Guard Camp Grayling (MI)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is providing technical assistance to the Michigan National Guard in their investigation of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination of groundwater at Camp Grayling. The source of the PFAS contamination is believed to be use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a fire suppressant agent, at the firefighting training area near the base airfield.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan National Guard have been testing residential wells and installing monitoring wells to characterize the extent of groundwater contamination. As of May 2019, 692 private wells have been tested for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate).  The well water in 215 wells were contaminated with PFOA and PFOS, and the water from 17 wells are above the state criteria and USEPA Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt.

MDHHS, in partnership with the local public health department (District #10), is reporting PFAS private drinking water results to residents, and is providing interim alternate water or water filters when applicable.  MDHHS is evaluating the test results and will complete a written report with their findings. They will coordinate with the local health department and ATSDR. ATSDR continues to provide technical support to the MDHHS.

Testing the City of Grayling’s municipal water is planned. The local fire department is providing an alternate water supply for the base because the base water supply is contaminated with PFAS.

For more information about the investigation visit the MDHHS website at https://www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/0,9038,7-365-86511_82704_84187—,00.htmlexternal icon

Former Wurtsmith Air Force Base (MI)

The former Wurtsmith Air Force Base (WAFB), located in Oscoda, Iosco County, MI operated from 1924 to 1993. Since, 2010 sampling by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the U.S. Air Force has identified elevated levels of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination in drinking water wells and some locally caught fish and deer. The source of the PFAS is likely past use of aqueous film- forming foam (AFFF) from fire training activities conducted at the former Wurthsmith Air Force Base.  As of May 2019, 390 drinking water wells have been tested for PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid).  PFAS was found in 272 wells, and the PFAS levels in 2 wells are higher than the state criteria and USEPA Health Advisory level of 70 ppt.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has been evaluating people’s exposure to PFAS. In 2012, MDHHS received results of analysis for PFAS in fish samples and issued a “Do Not Eat” health advisory for fish taken from Clark’s Marsh and the Au Sable River south and east of Clark’s Marsh due to PFOS levels in the fish tissue.  In October of 2018, MDHHS and Michigan Department of Natural Resources issued a ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory for deer taken within five miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township. The advisory is due to high levels of PFAS chemicals above the “Do Not Eat” level of 300 ppb found in a deer taken within five miles of the Marsh.  In May 2019, MDHHS issued a public health advisory to avoid foam generated on Van Etten Lake, due to the high concentration of PFOS in the foam samples collected from the lake.

MDHHS has conducted health education in the community, helped the local health department provide an alternate water supply to the Oscoda community, and created advisory signs for affected water bodies and areas to be installed by the local health department. ATSDR will provide health education and technical support to the MDHHS and will review their reports.

More information is available at http://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-71551_2945_5105-285528–,00.htmlexternal icon

Former Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. (MI)

Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. (Wolverine) operated a Tannery in Rockford, Michigan, from the 1930’s through 2009.  Wolverine constructed a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) at the Tannery property sometime between 1950 and 1960.  From the early 1960’s through 1978 Wolverine disposed of waste sludge containing PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) from its WWTP.  Most sludge was disposed of at two locations in Rockford, Michigan: the former House Street Disposal facility and a gravel pit. Many residences located near these two disposal areas use private water wells for their drinking water.  The tannery buildings were torn down when the tannery closed.

Wolverine and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) have sampled over 1,700 private drinking water wells as part of the Northern Kent County investigation.  Additionally, Wolverine has installed numerous monitoring wells across the site to delineate the horizontal and vertical extent of PFAS in groundwater.  The area of investigation currently covers about 20 square miles.   Wolverine has installed over 535 whole house and over 235 point of use (POU) filters in homes across the Northern Kent County area of investigation as an interim response.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is working with the Kent County Health Department to ensure residents are protected from further PFAS exposure, and health education and outreach is being provided in the community. MDHSS is working with ATSDR to further investigate and quantify PFAS exposures in this area.

For more information about Michigan PFAS investigations visit www.michigan.gov/pfasresponseexternal icon

Region 6

Lubbock County (TX) near Reese Technology Center

Reese Technology Center, in Lubbock, TX, is a research and business park located on the grounds of the former Reese Air Force Base.  The Air Force has tested private and public drinking water wells since November 2017 to determine if they are contaminated with PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).   The source of the PFAS is likely past use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF).  The wells that exceeded the EPA Health Advisory for the total amount of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) are being retested to confirm the results.  The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and ATSDR will continue to provide technical and health education support to the Air Force on request.

ATSDR will conduct a PFAS Exposure Assessment in this community in 2020.

Region 8

El Paso County (CO) near Peterson Air Force Base

Peterson Air Force Base (PAFB) is in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dozens of drinking water wells in Security, Widefield and Fountain are contaminated with PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).  Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a fire suppressant agent, used at the PAFB, is the likely source of PFAS contamination in groundwater.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) APPLETREE (ATSDR’s Partnership to Promote Local Efforts to Reduce Environmental Exposure) program is providing health education and outreach to the CDPHE water quality team, the lead for this site.  ATSDR will continue to provide technical, health education and community support to the APPLETREE staff.

ATSDR will conduct a PFAS Exposure Assessment in this community in 2020.

More information is available at: https://www.elpasocountyhealth.org/sites/default/files/imce/Peterson%20Snapshot_20Jul17%20(IST).pdf pdf icon[PDF – 163 KB]external icon

Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado

PFAS groundwater contamination has been found at the U.S. Air Force Academy, which has likely migrated beyond the facility boundaries. About 75 off base private drinking water wells are located within 1 mile of the US Air Force Academy.  Over 200 off base private wells are located within 2 miles.  Ongoing groundwater investigations will determine the extent of PFAS groundwater contamination. If needed, PFAS sampling of private off-base drinking water wells will likely occur this fall.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CO DPHE), with technical assistance from ATSDR Region 8 staff, will participate in federal and state facility specific per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) coordination meetings. The meetings will be held in the fall 2019 or 2020.  The Colorado Department of Health and the Environment (CO DPHE) will participate in public information meetings to answer PFAS health-related questions from the public. ATSDR will provide PFAS health education material. CO DPHE staff will answer individual private drinking water consumer questions about PFAS contamination.

Ellsworth Air Force Base (SD)

In 2017, the U.S. Air Force identified PFAS groundwater contamination at the Ellsworth Air Force Base. The PFAS groundwater contamination has migrated beyond the base boundaries and contaminated some local private drinking water well. In 2018, the U.S. Air Force requested ATSDR provide support at/near Ellsworth AFB during public meetings regarding the base-related PFAS drinking water contamination. The Air Force also requested that ATSDR provide PFAS-specific public health education to potentially impacted individuals.

Region 9

Oatman Water Company (AZ)

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) asked the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to evaluate whether PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) detected in the Oatman Water Company public water system could harm people’s health. ADHS reviewed the data and completed a written report of their findings.  Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a fire suppressant agent, used in the area is the likely source of PFAS contamination in groundwater.

The Oatman Water Company is now using a different groundwater well and has not detected PFAS in that well. ATSDR provided technical support to the ADHS and reviewed the report.  The health consultation can be found at https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/pha/OatmanWaterCompany/Oatman_Water_Company_HC_(final)_11-14-2016_508.pdf pdf icon[PDF – 898 KB]

Region 10

Fairbanks North Star Borough (AK) near Eielson Air Force Base

The Air Force is investigating historical use of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances)-containing aqueous film forming foam at the Eielson Air Force Base, located 20 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska. In 2015, The Air Force found PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) at levels higher than the EPA Health Advisory in wells on base and in the nearby Moose Creek community. The Air Force is treating on base wells to remove PFAS and providing alternate water to over 170 homes in Moose Creek. The Air Force is working to bring municipal drinking water to the Moose Creek community. Levels of PFAS in Polaris Lake exceed Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s surface water Action Levels for PFAS. Alaska Fish and Game measured PFAS in fish in Polaris Lake; the lake is closed to sport fishing and will not be stocked until additional information becomes available.

ATSDR and our cooperative agreement partner, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) assisted in public meetings to discuss health effects that may be associated with PFAS exposure. ADHSS provided technical assistance to Alaska Fish and Game to assess levels of PFAS in fish in Polaris Lake. The Moose Creek community was chosen to be one of ATSDR’s exposure assessment sites for 2020. The primary goal of these exposure assessments is to provide information to the community about the level of PFAS in their bodies. ATSDR and ADHSS will continue to provide technical and health education support upon request.

For more information about Moose Creek wells and fishing in nearby lakes, visit the following web sites:

Fairbanks Regional Fire Training Center (AK)

The City of Fairbanks, Alaska is investigating the use of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances)-containing aqueous film forming foam at the Regional Fire Training Center. In 2016, the City sampled for PFAS in drinking water wells of nearby homes and found PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) at levels higher than the EPA Health Advisory. The City is providing bottled water to affected residents and has connected some properties to the municipal water system. Golden Heart Utilities, the local Fairbanks Sewer and Water subsidiary, measured PFAS in bio solids (compost) and stopped distributing it.

Since 2016, ATSDR and our cooperative agreement partner, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) assisted in public meetings to discuss health effects that may be associated with PFAS exposure. ADHSS provided technical assistance to the local wastewater utility to assess risks of using bio solids. ATSDR and ADHSS will continue to provide technical and health education support upon request.

For more information visit the following web sites:

Fairbanks International Airport (AK)

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is investigating the use of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) containing aqueous film forming foam in training and emergencies at the Fairbanks International Airport. In 2017, PFAS were found in groundwater wells and surface water on airport property and then in nearby private drinking water wells. The combined level of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) was above the EPA Health Advisory level in some private wells. The Airport is connecting residences to the municipal water system.

ATSDR and our cooperative agreement partner, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) participated in public meetings to discuss health effects that may be associated with PFAS exposure. ATSDR and ADHSS continue to provide technical and health education support upon request.

For more information visit the following web sites

Naval Arctic Research Laboratory, Utqiagvik (Barrow) (AK)

The Navy is investigating the historical use of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances)-containing aqueous film forming foam at the Naval Artic Research Laboratory (NARL) in Utqiagvik (Barrow), Alaska. The NARL is near Lake Imikpuk.  Whaling crews from the Inuplat community collected ice from the lake for drinking water.  The Navy sampled the lake for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate). PFOA was detected above the EPA Health Advisory in 4 of 5 samples. Signs discouraging use were installed at areas commonly accessed. Ukpeagvuik Inupiat Corporation treats water from the Isatkoak Lagoon for drinking water, which is also contaminated with PFAS, unrelated to contamination at NARL.

ATSDR and our cooperative agreement partner, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) assisted in public meetings and outreach to City and Tribal leadership to discuss health effects that may be associated with PFAS exposure and to assist in finding alternative water sources for whaling crews. ATSDR and ADHSS continue to provide technical and health education support upon request.

For more information visit the following web site:

Gustavus Airport (AK)

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and City of Gustavus are investigating the use of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) containing aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) at or near the Gustavus airport, in Southeast Alaska. In fall of 2018, they sampled private drinking water wells around the airport and found 12 business or private drinking water wells with PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) above the former Alaska Department of Conservation Action Level.  The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is providing alternate water to those who need it.

ATSDR and our cooperative agreement partner, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, assisted in a public meeting and outreach to residents. ADHSS is writing a Letter Health Consultation to document exposures and potential health effects. ATSDR’s partners at the Northwest Pediatric Environmental Health Specialties Unit (PEHSU) provided technical and clinical assistance to residents and clinicians.

For more information visit the following web site:  http://dot.alaska.gov/airportwater/gustavus/external icon

Dillingham Airport (AK)

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is investigating the use of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances)-containing aqueous film forming foam at the Dillingham Airport. In 2019, they sampled 65 wells and found PFAS in 35 wells, seven of which were above the former Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Action Level.  The Holy Rosary Church, who’s well exceeded the Action Level, served as a source of water to the community. Alternate water has been provided.

ATSDR’s cooperative agreement partner, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, assisted in a public meeting to discuss health effects that may be associated with PFAS exposure.

For more information visit the following web site:  http://dot.alaska.gov/airportwater/dillingham/external icon

King Salmon Airport (AK)

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is investigating the use of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances)-containing aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) at the King Salmon Airport.  Twenty residential and business drinking water wells were sampled near the airport, one of which is above the EPA Health Advisory for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate). Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation continues to test wells.

ATSDR’s cooperative agreement partner, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) provided technical assistance to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to assess health concerns and provide technical and health education support.

For more information visit the following web site:  http://dot.alaska.gov/airportwater/kingsalmon/external icon

Yakutat Airport (AK)

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is investigating the use of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances)-containing aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) at the Yakutat Airport.  Twelve wells were sampled but none exceeded the EPA Health Advisory for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate). More sampling is planned.

ATSDR’s cooperative agreement partner, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) provided technical assistance to residents and discussed health effects that may be associated with PFAS exposure.

For more information visit the following web site:  http://dot.alaska.gov/airportwater/yakutat/external icon

Former North Pole Refinery Property, North Pole (AK)

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating historical use of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances)-containing aqueous film forming foam at the former North Pole Refinery property.  PFAS were detected in groundwater monitoring wells and private wells as co-contaminants of sulfolane. Post-treatment samples from private wells show PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) to be below the EPA Health Advisory.

Levels of PFAS in Kimberly Lake, down gradient from the facility, exceed Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s surface water Action Levels for PFAS. Alaska Fish and Game measured PFAS in fish in Kimberly Lake. The lake is closed to sport fishing and will not be stocked until additional information becomes available. During the summer, local farms use PFAS-contaminated water on produce, which is then provided to local schools.

ATSDR’s cooperative agreement partner, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (ADHSS) assisted in a public meeting to discuss health effects that may be associated with PFAS and sulfolane exposures. ADHSS provided technical assistance to local farms and to Alaska Fish and Game. They evaluated child exposures to food grown at local farms with intermittent and seasonal use of PFAS-contaminated groundwater and found no health concerns. ADHSS is evaluating exposures to fish in Kimberly Lake and provided interim advice to Alaska Fish and Game regarding fishing in the lake.

For more information visit the following web sites

Spokane County (WA) near Fairchild Air Force Base

The Air Force is investigating the use of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances)-containing fire-fighting foam at Fairchild Air Force Base located about 15 miles west of Spokane, Washington. In 2017, after sampling identified PFAS on base, the Air Force tested municipal and private wells down gradient from the base. The Airway Heights community water system is blending well water and installed a PFAS removal system so water post-treatment contains less than EPA Health Advisory for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate). As of January 2019, the Air Force has sampled 369 drinking water wells, with 90 wells above the EPA Health Advisory for combined PFOA and PFOS (70 parts per trillion, ppt).  The Air Force is providing alternate drinking water to private well owners with levels above the EPA Health Advisory and considering other alternate water sources.

ATSDR assisted the Air Force in public meetings and outreach to discuss health effects that may be associated with PFAS exposure. The Airway Heights community was chosen to be one ATSDR’s exposure assessment sites in 2019. The primary goal of these exposure assessments is to provide information to the community about the level of PFAS in their bodies. ATSDR and ADHSS will continue to provide technical and health education support upon request.

For more information, visit the following websites:

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island/Naval Outlying Field Coupeville (WA)

The Navy continues to investigate the use of PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances)-containing aqueous film forming foam at the Naval Air Station at Whidbey Island, Washington, which includes Ault Field in Oak Harbor and the Outlying Landing Field in Coupeville. As of May 2019, the Navy has hosted four phases of sampling at Ault Field (including Area 6) for 98 wells, two of which exceeded the EPA Health Advisory for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate). Alternate water was provided. The Navy sampled two phases at the Outlying Landing Field and seven of the 108 samples exceeded the EPA Health Advisory. Residents received alternate water and will be connected to the City water system. The Navy is putting a treatment system on the City’s water system in anticipation of future migration of the plume toward these wells.

ATSDR, Washington State Department of Health (WDOH), the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) at the University of Washington, and the Island County Health Department assisted the Navy in answering PFAS-related health questions individually and at public meetings.

For more information visit the following web sites

Page last reviewed: December 3, 2019