NAVFAC Northwest

PFAS Groundwater and Drinking Water Investigation

Area 6 Landfill Off-base Groundwater and Drinking Water Investigation

Open House Public Meeting

The Navy hosts public meetings to provide information on the investigation and remediation activities at Area 6. Representatives from the Navy and federal, state, and local partners attend these meetings to share information and answer your questions.

A public meeting was held on June 18, 2018 at the Oak Harbor High School from 4pm - 6pm. The most current Fact Sheet and posters from the public meeting have been posted below for your information.

The next public meeting is tentatively set for January 2019.  Meeting details will be published as they become available.

Project Background

The Department of the Navy is conducting a groundwater and drinking water investigation around Naval Air Station Whidbey Island's Ault Field Area 6 Landfill as a precautionary measure to reduce exposure of nearby residents to vinyl chloride, 1,4-dioxane, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (commonly known as PFAS). Additionally, this investigation will help determine the extent of these compounds in groundwater near Area 6.

The Area 6 Landfill was a Navy disposal site from the 1960s to 1990s for industrial and household wastes. A remedial investigation performed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (aka Superfund) determined that past disposal practices resulted in the leaching of contaminants to the groundwater. In 1996, the Navy capped the landfill and installed a groundwater treatment system for volatile organic compounds, such as trichloroethene and vinyl chloride. Due to the potential for the Area 6 contamination to migrate off-base into private drinking water wells, in 1995/1996, the Navy connected nine residences/businesses downgradient from the Area 6 Landfill to the City of Oak Harbor’s water system as a protective measure. From 1996 to present, the Navy has continued to monitor contamination and operate the groundwater treatment system.

In 2010, the State of Washington began regulating 1,4-dioxane. Because 1,4-dioxane was not a known or regulated contaminant in the 1990s, the groundwater treatment system was not designed to treat it. The Navy identified 1,4-dioxane in on-base groundwater and expanded its monitoring program to include this chemical. Groundwater monitoring has identified that both 1,4-dioxane and vinyl chloride have migrated off-base.

To comply with a proactive Navy policy to identify and mitigate the potential for exposure to PFAS, in December 2017, the Navy sampled for and detected PFAS in on-base groundwater at Area 6.

Since drinking water sources off-base may have been impacted by past disposal practices at the Area 6 Landfill, the Navy’s next step is to sample water wells downgradient from Area 6.  The Navy is working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Region 10, the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Washington State Department of Health, and Island County Public Health to assess the potential releases and the impact to drinking water near Area 6. The Navy will continue to work with these agencies to protect public health.

Next Steps

Based on these PFAS results and previous sample results for vinyl chloride and 1,4-dioxane, the Navy is requesting access to sample water wells that may be impacted by vinyl chloride, 1,4-dioxane, PFOS, and/or PFOA. The off-base sampling area includes parcels within ½ mile in the direction of groundwater flow to the south and parcels within ½ mile of the western Area 6 boundary. Residents will be receiving letters from the Navy requesting access for sampling.  If you do not have a well on your property and receive water from the City of Oak Harbor, please let us know. The City of Oak Harbor's drinking water supply comes from the Skagit River in Anacortes, Washington, and is not part of this investigation.

The Navy encourages you to schedule sampling of your well by leaving a voicemail at 360‐396‐1030, or by emailing the Navy’s Public Affairs Office at PAO_feedback@navy.mil. If your property is within the designated sampling area and a water well is not present on your property, we would like you to confirm that information by contacting the Navy at the phone number or email address above.

Action Based on Results

The Navy will notify each property owner of their personal water results and follow‐up actions if needed. We will keep the results private to the greatest extent possible.

The EPA recommends that water containing vinyl chloride, 1,4-dioxane, PFOS, and/or PFOA above their respective action levels not be used for drinking or cooking. If your preliminary results show that your drinking water contains vinyl chloride, 1,4-dioxane, PFOS, and/or PFOA above the action levels, the Navy will provide bottled water or an alternate water supply until a long-term solution is implemented.

Area 6 Landfill – Off-Base Groundwater and Drinking Water Investigation Results

As of December 14, 2018, the Navy has sampled 17 drinking water wells and 16 groundwater wells off-Base near the Area 6 Landfill.  Validated results for PFAS have been receeived for 17 drinking water wells and 16 groundwater wells. Samples collected from 5 drinking water wells are above the action level established for PFOS and/or PFOA. No exceedances of the action level for PFOS and/or PFOA were identified for the groundwater wells. Validated results for 1,4-dioxane and vinyl chloride have been received for 17 drinking water wells and 16 groundwater wells. Preliminary results for 1,4-dioxane and vinyl chloride have been received for 1 drinking water well and 6 groundwater wells. No exceedances of the action levels for 1,4-dioxane or vinyl chloride were identified for the drinking water wells and groundwater wells.

The table below provides the status of the sampling through December 14, 2018.   

Number of wells sampled and results receives as of December 14, 2018
  Wells with permission to sample  Wells Sampled  Preliminary Results (1)   Validated Results (1)  Preliminary Results above action levels (1)  Validated Results above action levels (1) 
      PFAS  Vinyl Chloride 

1,4-

dioxane 

PFAS  Vinyl Chloride 

1,4-

dioxane 

PFAS  Vinyl Chloride 

1,4-

dioxane 

PFAS  Vinyl Chloride 

1,4-

dioxane 

Drinking Water Wells 

17  17 0 0 17  17  17  NA  NA  NA 
Groundwater Wells  19 (2)  17  16  16  16  NA NA NA 0
Total  36  33  0 0 33  33  33  NA NA NA
             

Notes:

(1) Preliminary results are from the analytical laboratory and have not been validated by a third-party firm. Once the preliminary results are validated, the associated preliminary result number is not applicable (NA).

 

(2) One off-Base groundwater monitoring well near the Area 6 landfill has been paved over and is no longer accessible for sampling.

 

People in the sampling areas were notified by letter and can arrange sampling -- if they haven't already done so -- by calling 360-396-1030. We encourage residents in the sampling areas to have their wells sampled.

 

Navy Drinking Water Testing near Naval Air Station Whidbey Island

Project Background

Navy Region Northwest continues to conduct drinking water sampling surrounding Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island's Ault Field and Outlying Landing Field (OLF) at Coupeville to determine if drinking water is impacted from past releases of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  The testing will help the Navy determine if additional actions are needed to protect human health and the environment.  The primary release mechanism of PFAS at NAS Whidbey Island is likely Aqueous Film Forming Foam, a highly effective, life saving fire suppressant, which contained PFAS ingredients.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies PFAS as unregulated or "emerging" contaminants that have no regulatory standards or routine water quality testing requirements.  In May 2016, the EPA issued lifetime health advisory levels for two PFAS, specifically perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at 70 parts pert trillion, individually and combined.

From November 2016 to June 2017, the Navy conducted drinking water sampling near Ault Field and OLF Coupeville.  There were three sampling areas identified near Ault Field and two sampling areas near OLF Coupeville (please see the maps below).

 

nw_PFC_Ault_Field_final_phase_3
OLF Coupeville All Phases Sampling Areas

Drinking water sampling and laboratory results from Navy drinking water testing near NAS Whidbey Island.

From November 2016 to June 2017, the Navy sampled 215 private and public drinking drinking water supply wells in the areas surrounding both Ault Field and Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Coupeville properties.  Of the total 215 wells, samples collected from seven wells (9 properties/7 wells) are above the EPA LHA level established for PFOS and PFOA.

The Navy sampled 110 wells from properties near OLF Coupeville and seven wells from seven properties are above the EPA LHA.  The Navy sampled 105 wells from properties near Ault Field and two wells from two properties are above the EPA LHA.

The table below provides the status of the sampling through June 2017.

Wells sampled and results received as of June 2017
  Wells with Permission to Sample Wells Sampled Preliminary Results (1) Validated Results (1) Preliminary Results above EPA LHA Validated Results above EPA LHA (1) 
OLF 110 110 NA  110  NA   7 (2) 
Ault  Field  105  105  NA  105  NA 
Total  215 215  215  9 (2) 

Notes:

(1) Preliminary results are from the analytical laboratory and have not been validated by a third party firm.  Once the preliminary results are validated, the associated preliminary result number is no longer applicable (NA).

(2) Two of the wells that exceed the LHA are shared wells between two residences, thus 7 wells/9 residences are impacted near OLF Coupeville.

From October 11-28, 2017, the Navy resampled drinking water wells that had detections of PFOS and/or PFOA during the sampling conducted from November 2016 to June 2017 and resampled drinking water wells adjacent to wells that exceeded the EPA's LHA for PFOA and/or PFOA.  The purpose of this sampling effort is to evaluate the seasonal and spatial variation of PFAS and evaluate filtration performance. 

The Navy resampled 21 wells from properties near OLF Coupeville and nine wells from properties near Ault Field.  The preliminary sample results are consistent with the previous sampling results for each well.  The Navy also sampled two new wells (not previously sampled) in the OLF sampling area.  The preliminary sample results for one of the two wells is above the EPA's LHA.  The preliminary results have not been validated. The table below provides the status of the sampling progress and will be updated weekly with information received during the previous week.

Wells re-sampled during October 2017 and results received as of November 2017 
  Wells with permission to sample  Wells Sampled  Preliminary Results (1)  Validated Results (1)  Preliminary Results above EPA LHA (1)  Validated Results above EPA LHA (1) 
OLF  23 23  23 
Ault Field  9
Total  32  32  32  10 

 (1) Preliminary results are from the analytical laboratory and have not been validated by a third party firm.  Once the preliminary results are validated, the associated preliminary result number is no longer applicable (NA).

Out of respect to residents' privacy, test results will only be released by the Navy to the affected resident.

The Navy is providing drinking water to the owners of affected wells as we work to validate the data.  The Navy will update property owners on their validated results as they become available.

The Navy continues to work directly with residents, community leaders and other federal, state and local agencies on this important national issue and will keep the community informed while respecting the privacy of individual residents.

People in the sampling areas were notified by letter and can arrange sampling - if they haven't already done so - by calling 360-396-1030.  We encourage residents in the sampling areas to have their wells sampled.

If you have any questions, please contact one of the Public Affairs Officers listed below.

MEDIA CONTACT      PUBLIC CONTACT 
Mike Welding

     Leslie Yuenger

Public Affairs Officer       Public Affairs Officer 
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island       Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest 
E-mail: michael.welding@navy.mil       E-mail: leslie.yuenger@navy.mil 
Office: 360-257-2962       Office: 360-396-6387 
Cell: 360-914-7915       Cell: 360-340-5592 
   
Final OLF Coupeville Onbase PFAS Drinking Water Results Oct 2016   
Final Summary Rpt Groundwater Sampling for PFCs - Hangar 5, Area 16 & 31 Nov 2016   
Final Phase 1 Ault Field PFAS Drinking Water Investigation Fact Sheet Feb 2017   
Final Phase 1 OLF Coupeville PFAS Drinking Water Investigation Fact Sheet Feb 2017   
Final Phase 1 NASWI PFAS Drinking Water Investigation Open House Posters Nov 2016   
Final OLF Coupeville Sampling & Analysis Plan Site Inspection for PFCs in Groundwater Jan 2017   
Final Ault Field Sampling & Analysis Plan for PFCs in Drinking Water Jan 2017   
Final OLF Coupeville Sampling & Analysis Plan for PFCs in Drinking Water Jan 2017    
Final Phase 2 Ault Field PFAS Drinking Water Investigation Fact Sheet Feb 2017   
Final Phase 2 OLF PFAS Coupeville Drinking Water Investigation Fact Sheet Feb 2017   
Final Phase 2 NASWI PFAS Drinking Water Investigation Open House Posters Feb 2017   
Final Phase 3 Ault Field PFAS Drinking Water Investigation Fact Sheet May 2017   
Final Phase 3 OLF PFAS Coupeville Drinking Water Investigation Fact Sheet May 2017   
Final Phase 3 NASWI PFAS Drinking Water Investigation Open House Posters May 2017   
Drinking Water Summary of September 2017   
Final Ault Field & OLF Coupeville Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling & Analysis Plan Oct 2017   
Final Ault Field Sampling Fact Sheet Jan 2018   
Final Coupeville Sampling Fact Sheet Jan 2018   
Final Ault Field Sampling and Analysis Plan Phase 1 Feb 2018   
US EPA Drinking Water Fact Sheet for PFOA & PFOS Drinking Water Health Advisories Nov 2016   
US EPA Technical Fact Sheet for PFOA & PFOS Nov 2017  
PFOS/PFOA Drinking Water Sampling Homeowner Questionnaire   
BUCKEYE - Technical Bulletin for AFFF Foam & the Environment   
BUCKEYE - 3MS Premium 3% Military Specification AFF (3%MS-AFFF)   
Other website addresses for information on PFAS in drinking water and groundwater   
   
Drinking Water Summary for Results Received in October 2017   
Final 2016/2017 PFAS OLF Groundwater Investigation Tech Memo   

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