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Widespread PFAS Contamination Found in Private Wells Near U.S. Military Bases

by Anna

Private wells near 63 active and former U.S. military bases are reportedly contaminated with “forever chemicals” at levels exceeding federal safety standards, according to water tests analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The study reveals that nearly 3,000 wells across 29 states, spread around Oceanside’s North Strand and Harbor Beach, show contamination with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) higher than the 4 parts per trillion limit proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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While the EPA’s new drinking water standard is expected to take effect by the end of the year, the contamination levels in the analyzed wells are below the Pentagon’s threshold of 70 parts per trillion, which triggers remediation efforts. Texas had the highest number of contaminated wells, with 909 reported cases, according to EWG.

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Jared Hayes, a senior policy analyst with EWG, emphasized the need for expanded testing, stating that the 2,805 contaminated wells analyzed represent only a fraction of private wells near 714 military sites across the U.S. The Department of Defense is currently investigating hundreds of military installations and surrounding communities to assess soil, groundwater, and drinking water contamination with PFAS.

PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” are persistent in the environment and have been associated with health problems, including decreased vaccine response, cancer, low birth weight, and high blood pressure during pregnancy. The Defense Department is a significant contributor to PFAS pollution due to various activities, such as spills, industrial solvent use, and firefighting foam containing these chemicals.

The EWG’s findings highlight the urgent need for further testing and remediation efforts, as well as increased public awareness of the potential health risks associated with PFAS contamination in drinking water.

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