Ellsworth helps property owners after drinking water test

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – The Air Force Civil Engineer Center recently tested for the presence of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate – two types of perflourinated compounds – in private drinking wells near the base.

Sampling results indicated that nine drinking water wells are above Environmental Protection Agency health advisory levels for PFOS and PFOA. All affected property owners and/or residents were notified by Air Force personnel, and alternative drinking water is being provided for those affected.

The testing is part of the Air Force’s proactive, service-wide investigation to assess potential mission-related risk to drinking water from PFOS and PFOA, two compounds found in Aqueous Film Forming Foam, used by emergency fire response teams at commercial airports, the Air Force and other Department of Defense services to combat petroleum-based fires.

When the Air Force determines elevated PFOS/PFOA concentrations are likely at least in part to Air Force activities, the Air Force takes steps to mitigate contamination and ensure affected residents have drinking water available that meets health advisory levels.

Though no drinking water regulations govern current PFOS and PFOA levels, the Environmental Protection Agency has health advisory levels of 70 parts per trillion, and recommends taking action to reduce exposure to these emerging contaminants when concentrations exceed the established levels.

“We will continue to monitor the wells and ensure drinking water supplies are below the EPA health advisory and will notify residents and members of the community of any changes,” said Col. John Edwards, commander of the 28th Bomb Wing and Ellsworth AFB. “Providing safe drinking water is our top and most urgent priority.”

Further information on the Air Force’s response to PFOS/PFOA can be found at https://www.afcec.af.mil/WhatWeDo/Environment/Perfluorinated-Compounds/.

Information from Ellsworth Air Force Base
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