Property owners and tenants who drink water from a well on a property located within the sampling area may request sampling by calling 844-NASWFLD (844 627 9353) to schedule a sampling appointment.
If your drinking water is provided by Belforest Water 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 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 commonly used and studied 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 Navy 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 with the investigations of past releases 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 also be present in nearby drinking water wells that are located in the direction that the groundwater flows away from the base.
In January 2023, 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 will continue to use formulations that contain lower concentrations of PFOA and PFOS than many historical AFFF formulations, and will continue to take 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 OLF Silverhill (Figure 1)
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.
At this time, the Navy is only asking to sample drinking water wells located in the sampling area (Figure 2). Records indicate that some properties within the sampling area (Figure 2) are provided drinking water by Belforest Water. Property owners and tenants should contact Belforest Water 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 OLF Silverhill 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 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.
2021 Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling Results
In June 2021, the Navy team initiated the sampling of drinking water from wells within a designated area near OLF Silverhill. Table 1 summarizes the drinking water sampling results to date. We call each property owner and tenant upon receipt of their preliminary results to let them know if their water contains PFOA and/or PFOS above or below 70 ppt. Bottled water is typically provided within 24 hours of the preliminary results being received by the Navy. Final laboratory results are mailed to each property owner and tenant after all data is verified and final. Out of respect for the privacy of the property owner and tenant, individual results are provided only to each property owner and tenant.
|Table 1. OLF Silverhill Off-Base Drinking Water Results as of February 22, 2023
||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
Identification of PFAS Releases at OLF Silverhill
The recent PA conducted at OLF Silverhill identified the following 2 on-base areas, shown on Figure 2, where releases of PFAS may have occurred.
- 1994 Aircraft Mishap
In 2022, sample collection and analysis of groundwater and soil was initiated at OLF Silverhill in support of the SI. The Navy will continue on-base PFAS investigations and evaluate if actions are needed on base.
OLF Silverhill Drinking Water Investigation Documents
2021 Virtual Open House Posters (Alabama OLFs)
2021 Virtual Open House Posters (OLF Silverhill)
May 2021 Drinking Water Investigation Fact Sheet
October 2021 Drinking Water Investigation Fact Sheet
June 2022 Drinking Water Investigation Fact Sheet
PFAS Drinking Water Frequently Asked Questions
Example Letter to request sampling (May 28, 2021)
Notification postcard to properties on public water (May 2021)
Notification postcard to tenants (May 2021)
Sampling reminder postcard (July 2021)
Results postcard for properties not sampled (November 2021)
Results postcard for properties sampled (November 2021)
Example results letter (No detections above 70 ppt)
2022 Results Open House Postcard
Open House Mailer (revised)
2022 Results Open House Posters
2022 Carteles con Resultados Presentados en la Jornada de Puertas Abiertas (Español)
ATSDR – PFAS Health Effects
ATSDR - Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Frequently Asked Questions
ATSDR - Overview of the Science and Guidance for Clinicians
ATSDR – PFAS and Breastfeeding
Assistant Secretary of the Navy PFAS website
DoD PFAS website
EPA PFAS website
Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR)