Pentagon urges weakened standards on PFAS contamination

It’s unclear what impact, if any, the Pentagon’s proposal to weaken standards for groundwater pollution found around military bases across the nation could have on affected Whidbey Island residents.

Testing found that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, has contaminated groundwater wells at 126 military installations. The chemicals are found in a type of firefighting foam that is used to put out petroleum-fueled fires, such as the kind involving aircraft; much of the contamination is believed to be the result training over the years.

Cleanup is estimated to cost as much as $2 billion, according to the New York Times.

The Pentagon is urging the Trump administration to set a mandatory cleanup level at 380 parts per trillion, which is more than five times the Environmental Protection Agency’s lifetime advisory level and more than 30 times the level recommended as safe by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the New York Times reported.

Rick Abraham, a Whidbey Island activist, is outraged, saying the military wants to just walk away from a serious health problem it created.

“This flies in the face of all the current science and the medical evidence,” he said.

The chemicals have been linked to a wide range of health concerns, including cancer.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island began testing wells around the Ault Field and Outlying Field Coupeville bases in 2016, after the EPA set the lifetime advisory level and the Navy issued a nationwide directive for bases to identify areas of possible contamination.

On Whidbey, 15 residential wells tested by the Navy exceed the lifetime health advisory level, according to the base.

The base provided the affected homes with bottled water.

The Navy also agreed to fund an activated carbon filtration system for the town of Coupeville to remove PFAS and to extend the service to the homes that tested above the advisory level. The cost is estimated at $5-7 million.

A proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court this year against 3M and other companies on behalf of Whidbey Island residents affected by the PFAS water pollution.

More in News

The city of Langley plans to replace well-loved playground equipment at Generation Park with a new structure that includes glide slides, spiral climber, horizontal loop ladder, spin cup, toddler swing and more. (Photo provided)
Generation Park slated for new playground equipment

Glide slides, spiral climber, loop ladder, spin cup and more swinging in soon

Dogs still get to run free by the sea in Langley

Seawall Park exempted from new leash law

Cooking up lessons in Langley’s Learning Labs

Youth, adults take classes in revamped home ec and shop classrooms

Geri Forbes’ four-year tenure marked by change, controversy and construction

Bottom line got healthier than took a turn for the worse

Port renames, rebrands Langley fair property to attract events

One of the oldest venues on South Whidbey has a new name… Continue reading

Port of South Whidbey commissioners Jack Ng, left, Curt Gordon and Ed Halloran review a list of grant application requests before announcing their decision at a meeting.
Port announces annual grants for tourism development

Eight organizations get piece of $30,000 pie

Port looking to fill commissioner vacancy

Port of Coupeville commissioners are deciding how to fill a to-be vacant… Continue reading

David Felice photo
                                Island County Emergency Management Director Eric Brooks talks about the importance of disaster readiness Saturday at St. Hubert’s Church in Langley. Several agencies presented an informal demonstration and discussion of how to be ready for emergencies.
Be prepared, emergency manager says

When Eric Brooks thinks about his work, he asks himself “How big… Continue reading

Langley calls for street dance artists

The Langley Main Street Association is accepting submissions from bands and artists… Continue reading

Most Read