Subject: Actions taken by the 111th Attack Wing (ATKW) to address PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances) issues.
Background: PFAS are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. These coatings can be used in such varied products as clothing, furniture, adhesives, food packaging, heat-resistant non-stick cooking surfaces, and the insulation of electrical wire. Firefighting foams used at military and commercial airports contain PFAS. Many chemicals in this group have been a concern because they do not break down in the environment, can move through soils and enter drinking water sources, and they build up in fish and wildlife.
The 111th ATKW has been actively working to address PFAS issues at Biddle Air National Guard Base since they were first discovered and confirmed in 2014. The 111th has partnered with local communities, Navy, Air National Guard (ANG), U.S. Air Force (USAF), PA Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address drinking water quality, and storm water run-off from the base.
• Presently, Biddle ANG Base/111th ATKW is in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency's lifetime health advisory (HA) level for PFOS and PFOA of 70 parts per trillion (ppt). Where the Department of Defense (DoD) is the known source of PFAS, no one (on or off base) is drinking water above these levels.
• The DoD, USAF, ANG and Biddle ANG Base/111th ATKW are moving forward in a systematic, enterprise-wide approach in their response to PFAS. This approach requires extensive coordination with all parties to ensure consistency across all DoD installations.
Key Actions Taken by Biddle ANG Base/111th Attack Wing:
• All water and sewer infrastructure on base was replaced from 2014-2017. This project replaced all the water and sewer lines on base, rehabilitated the drinking water supply wells, and constructed a new drinking water treatment plant. The project, which was completed in 2017, was done in partnership with the Horsham Township Water and Sewer Authority. Cost of the project was $6.3M (construction). Bottled water is still used for drinking on base because an operating permit has not been issued by PADEP. However, the tap water is treated to remove PFAS and samples are analyzed twice per month to ensure it remains below the HA.
• Local private wells were sampled and funding was provided to local municipalities, including Horsham, Warminster and Warrington Townships, to add PFAS treatment to 5 municipal wells, extend water mains to previously unserved neighborhoods, and connect local residents with private wells to municipal water supplies. Bottled water is provided to any resident with drinking water that exceeds the HA that has not been connected to municipal water.
• To treat groundwater and surface water from throughout the base that accumulates at an on-base drainage basin, an interim water treatment system was installed in 2017 and a permanent water treatment system is under construction. The system is designed to reduce PFAS to below the HA prior to discharge off base. The water treatment system is being constructed through a
cooperative agreement with Warminster Township. The estimated completion date is July 2021. • A comprehensive Remedial Investigation is underway to determine the magnitude and extent of PFAS on and off base. Once the characterization is complete, options to stop migration and clean up the soil and water will be developed and evaluated. This program is being conducted in consultation with PADEP and EPA.
Next Steps: The Biddle ANG Base/111th ATKW will continue to work with our partners to monitor and assess the PFOS/PFOA situation at the base. The 111th ATKW and the ANG work closely with our installation partners, the Navy, in the PFOS and PFOA mitigation effort, as both entities have complex situations that require systematic, coordinated responses to ensure compliance with the intent of the law and in the best interests of the community. PADEP and EPA provide oversight and guidance throughout the process. The status of all efforts are briefed at Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meetings quarterly which are open to the public.
Multi-Site Health Study:
• The PA PFAS Multi-site Health Study aims to better understand how exposure to drinking water with PFAS may impact health in 11 Pennsylvania communities located within Bucks and Montgomery counties. The study is being performed by the PA Department of Health along with federal health agencies. Participants will receive up to $50 for adults and $75 for children for completing the entire study. You can learn more about the study by visiting the PA PFAS Multi-site Health Study website, by reaching out to: email@example.com, or by calling 1-866-354-1076 for general study information.