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Naval Weapons Station Earle

Environmental Restoration Program Public Website

The Navy is requesting permission to sample drinking water obtained from drinking water wells near Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Earle
to test for certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS.

OFF-BASE DRINKING WATER SAMPLING
NEAR NWS EARLE

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION

The Navy 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 relating to NWS Earle, as well as representatives that will be available to discuss the drinking water well sampling near NWS Earle.

For additional information about the Open House, or if you have questions about the drinking water sampling, please email colt.wpnstaearlepao@navy.mil or call and leave a detailed message at 833-REQSAMP (833-737-7267). A Navy representative will return your call.

*Partnering agencies include: the United States Environmental Protection Agency, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Date: February 23, 2023
Time: 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Address: Courtyard Banquet
  30 E. Main Street (parking at Market Yard Parking Lot)
  Freehold, New Jersey 07728
 

Property owners and tenants who drink water from a well on a property located within the sampling areas may request sampling by calling
833-REQSAMP (833-737-7267) to schedule a sampling appointment. Appointments are currently being scheduled between the hours of
8:00 am and 6:00 pm from February 24, 2023 to March 10, 2023.

If your drinking water is provided by New Jersey American Water Company (NJ American) and not from a well, we do not need to sample your drinking water.

Introduction

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 man-made 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 ensure the communities near our installations are not exposed to drinking water with PFOA and/or PFOS because of a known or potential Navy release of PFAS-containing materials. The Navy’s 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 PFAS release. The most common activity that could have resulted in the historical release of PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS to the environment at Navy 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 may be present in nearby drinking water wells that are located in the direction that the groundwater flows away from the release areas. Recently, the Navy released a new military specification for a formulation of AFFF that does not contain PFAS. Until products that meet this new military specification are available, the Navy currently uses formulations that contain lower concentrations of PFOA and PFOS than many historical AFFF formulations and has 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 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 was anticipated by the end of 2022. 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 NWS Earle (Figure 1)

PFOA and PFOS have been detected in groundwater at NWS Earle above 70 ppt. When a known or suspected release of PFAS is identified on a Navy installation and groundwater is used as drinking water, a sampling area is established 1 mile in the direction that groundwater flows away from a release area. The Navy offers 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 NWS Earle


PFOA and/or PFOS were detected in groundwater above 70 ppt at two release areas, Site 46 and Building C-63 (Figure 2). As a result, off-base sampling areas have been established 1 mile in the direction that groundwater flows away from these two release areas. The Southwest Sampling Area is located in the direction groundwater flows off-base from Site 46, and the North Sampling Area is located in the direction groundwater flows off-base from Building C-63 (Figure 2). At this time, the Navy is asking to sample only drinking water wells located in the sampling areas. Records indicate that some properties within the sampling areas are provided drinking water by NJ American. NJ American customers should contact NJ American with any questions regarding their drinking water.

Figure 2: 2023 Sampling Areas


Actions Based on Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling Results

The preliminary results from the off-base drinking water sampling near NWS Earle are expected approximately 30 days after collecting the samples. We will provide notification to the property owners and tenants of their drinking water results and any follow-up actions, if needed. The Navy will do its best to keep the testing results and property information confidential to the extent permitted by law.

The Navy 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 will continue to provide bottled water until a permanent solution is implemented.

2016 Off-base Drinking Water Sampling

The Navy conducted off-base PFAS drinking water well sampling in 2016 because PFOA and/or PFOS were detected above 70 ppt at Site 46; the sampling area is shown on Figure 2.

Table 1 provides the results of the 2016 sampling. Bottled water was provided to two properties with PFOA and/or PFOS results above 70 ppt until they were connected to public water (NJ American) in 2017.

Table 1. NWS Earle – 2016 Off-Base Drinking Water Results
Year Number of Wells Sampled Number of wells with no detections of PFOA or PFOS Number of wells with detections of PFOA and/or PFOS below 70 ppt Number of wells with detections of PFOA and/or PFOS above 70 ppt
2016 29 23 4 2
 

Identification of PFAS Releases at NWS Earle

Site 46 was identified as a PFAS release area in 2015, and investigation of groundwater and soil is ongoing. Site 46 is currently in the Remedial Investigation phase.

Basewide Assessment: The basewide Preliminary Assessment (PA) completed in January 2020 at NWS Earle identified the following eight on-base areas, shown on Figure 3, where releases of PFAS may have occurred.

  • Site 3: Landfill Southwest of “F” Group

  • Site 4: Landfill West of “D” Group

  • Site 5: Landfill West of Army Barricades

  • Site 6: Landfill West of Normandy Road

  • Historical Fire Training Area (Location of Site 11 – Ordnance Disposal Area)

  • Site 13: Defense Property Disposal Office Yard Landfill

  • Building C-63: Hazardous Waste Storage Building

  • Site 49: Shed S-469 and Wooded Area

All of these areas are on the NWS Earle Mainside Area, except for Site 6, which is on the NWS Earle Waterfront Area.

Figure 3: PFAS Release Areas

 

In the summer of 2021, sample collection and analysis of groundwater was completed at these areas in support of a Site Inspection (SI). The Navy is currently evaluating what additional investigations are necessary.

NWS Earle Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling Documents

Additional Documents

Links

 

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