Fort Indiantown Gap is among the sites in Pennsylvania being studied for contamination by the PFAS class of chemicals, but Gap representatives say there is no cause for immediate concern.

Fort Indiantown Gap is on a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection list of sites being monitored for PFAS contaminants.

The chemical is commonly found on military training sites today for its legacy use in firefighting foam.

According to StateImpact Pennsylvania, which first reported the news, the chemical was first detected in the summer of 2017 in a water well on a part of the base called the “training corridor.”

“Drinking water wells on Fort Indiantown Gap were tested,” confirmed Gap spokesperson LTC Keith Hickox in an email to LebTown earlier this month.

“The level of PFAS found in the one well that tested positive at Fort Indiantown Gap was less than three parts per trillion – significantly lower than EPA’s current lifetime health advisory (LHA) level of 70 parts per trillion. This well is located in the installation’s training corridor to the north of post, between Blue and Second Mountains. Other drinking water wells on post have tested negative for PFAS.”

Hickox noted that Pennsylvania National Guard leadership are involved with the action team carrying out Governor Tom Wolf’s recent executive order tasking the state government with a more than half dozen different mandates, such as protecting drinking water, managing the contamination, developing an information clearinghouse, and exploring remediation funds.

Wolf on Wednesday was also a co-signer of a letter sent to the US Senate and House Armed Services Committees endorsing changes in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act related to the PFAS class of chemicals.

The PFAS provisions remain debated however, with the White House position (PDF) being that,” Using the EPA drinking water health advisory (HA) to identify areas subject to this section of the bill would be inconsistent with the scientific basis of the HA—it was not constructed to determine unhealthy levels of PFOA/PFOS in water used for agricultural purposes or human health effects from consumption of foods produced using agricultural water containing PFOA/PFOS. Additionally, at potentially great cost to and significant impact on DOD’s mission, the legislation singles out DOD, only one contributor to this national issue.”

More information about the Commonwealth’s PFAS response can be found here.


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