The Navy and Marine Corps are requesting permission to sample drinking water obtained from drinking water wells
within a sampling area near Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort to test for certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS.
OFF-BASE DRINKING WATER SAMPLING NEAR MCAS BEAUFORT
The Navy and Marine Corps will host an Open House public meeting with our partnering agencies* to present information about this drinking water sampling and to interact with the community to address questions and concerns.
The Open House will have informational displays containing information relating to MCAS Beaufort, as well as representatives that will be available to discuss the drinking water well sampling near MCAS Beaufort.
For additional information about the Open House, or if you have questions about the drinking water sampling, please email BFRT_JPAO@usmc.mil or call and leave a detailed message at 800-818-8455. A Navy or Marine Corps representative will return your call.
*Partnering agencies include: South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Date: December 8, 2022
Time: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Address: Holiday Inn & Suites
2225 Boundary Street
Beaufort, South Carolina 29902
Property owners and tenants who drink water from a well on a property located within the sampling area may request sampling by calling 800-818-8455 to schedule a sampling appointment. Appointments are currently being scheduled from December 9, 2022 to December 21, 2022, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on all sampling days.
If your drinking water is provided by Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority (BJWSA) and not from a well, we do not need to sample your drinking water.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of thousands of different chemicals that have been widely used in industrial and consumer products since the 1950s. PFAS are manufactured chemicals and have been used in many household and industrial products because of their stain- and water-repellent properties. PFAS are now present virtually everywhere in the world. Once these compounds are released, they break down very slowly.
In May 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued lifetime drinking water health advisories of 70 parts per trillion (ppt), individually or combined, for two PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). Health advisories are not enforceable, and are not regulatory levels; rather, they are levels that provide Americans, including sensitive populations, with a margin of protection from a lifetime of exposure.
In June 2016, the Department of the Navy developed a proactive policy to investigate past releases of PFAS at installations nationwide, and has used the 2016 health advisories for PFOA and PFOS to determine an acceptable level of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. The most common activity that could have resulted in the historical release of PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS to the environment at Navy and Marine Corps installations is the use of firefighting foam (specifically, aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF) for testing, training, firefighting, and other life-saving emergency responses. Because of this historical use, there is potential for PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS to be in the groundwater on base, and also be present in nearby drinking water wells that are located in the direction that the groundwater flows away from the base. Current formulations that meet military specifications contain lower concentrations of PFOA and PFOS than many historical AFFF formulations. Further, the Navy is working to identify a new formulation for firefighting foam that does not contain PFOA and PFOS but will still meet critical fire suppression, and ultimately lifesaving, properties. Until this formulation is approved, and products are available, the Navy and Marine Corps have taken steps to prevent or minimize additional release of firefighting foam to the environment.
On June 15, 2022, the EPA issued new interim drinking water health advisories for PFOA and PFOS. Because these interim health advisories are based on draft analyses, are below detectable limits, and are non-regulatory levels, the Department of Defense (DOD) is instead looking to EPA to propose a regulatory drinking water standard, which is anticipated by the end of this year. DOD is currently evaluating its efforts to address PFAS in drinking water, and what actions we can take to be prepared to incorporate this standard.
Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling at MCAS Beaufort (Figure 1)
PFOA and PFOS have been detected in groundwater at MCAS Beaufort above 70 ppt. The Navy and Marine Corps’ first priority is to ensure that concentrations of PFOA or PFOS in drinking water are not above 70 ppt as a result of a Navy or Marine Corps PFAS release. When a known or suspected release of PFAS is identified on a Navy or Marine Corps installation and groundwater is used as drinking water, a sampling area is established 1 mile in the direction that groundwater likely flows away from a release area. The Navy and Marine Corps offer sampling to all property owners and tenants whose property is within the sampling area and whose drinking water is supplied by groundwater.
Figure 1: Location Map of MCAS Beaufort
At this time, the Navy and Marine Corps are only asking to sample drinking water wells located in the sampling area (Figure 2). Records indicate that most properties within the sampling area are provided drinking water by BJWSA. Property owners and tenants should contact BJWSA with any questions regarding treatment and testing of publicly-provided drinking water.
Figure 2: Sampling Area
Actions Based on Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling Results
The preliminary results from the off-base drinking water sampling near MCAS Beaufort are expected approximately 30 days after collecting the samples. We provide notification to the property owners and tenants of their drinking water results and any follow-up actions, if needed. The Navy and Marine Corps will do their best to keep the testing results and property information confidential to the extent permitted by law.
The Navy and Marine Corps will provide bottled water for drinking and cooking to any property in the sampling area with a drinking water well that contains PFOA and/or PFOS above 70 ppt and does not have an alternate drinking water source available. The Navy and Marine Corps will continue to provide bottled water until a permanent solution is implemented.
Identification of PFAS at MCAS Beaufort
A Preliminary Assessment (PA) conducted in 2020 at MCAS Beaufort identified the following 28 on-base areas, shown on Figure 3, where releases of PFAS may have occurred. In December 2021, sample collection and analysis of groundwater and soil was completed at these areas in support of the Site Inspection (SI). At MCAS Beaufort, PFOA and PFOS were detected in shallow groundwater above 70 ppt. The Navy and Marine Corps will continue on-base PFAS investigations and evaluate if actions are needed on base.
|PFAS Release Areas at MCAS Beaufort
||Mobile Defoaming Unit
||SWMU 13 - Western Fire Training Pits
||SWMU 18 - Current Fire Training Pits
||SWMU 63 - OWS at Current Fire Training Pits
||1991 Crash Site
||Compass Rose Crash Site
||West Ramp Area
||Former Hangar 728
||East Ramp Area
||Building 1313 – Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Station
||Building 595 – Former Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting/Fire Department Station
||Former Hangar 416
||SWMU 74 - Hazardous Waste Storage Tank 979
||SWMU 67 – Sewage Treatment Plant
||SWMU 6 Former Seepage Trenches and SWMU 14 Inert Landfill
||Building 2085 - Fire Department Station
||2019 Fire Response Area
||SWMU 12 - Former Eastern Fire Training Pits
Figure 3: Potential PFAS Release Areas at MCAS Beaufort
MCAS Beaufort Drinking Water Sampling Documents