|Owners of property in Atlantic, N.C. whose drinking water has not been tested
may request sampling by completing the
or by calling
Marine Corps Outlying Landing Field (MCOLF) Atlantic PFAS Drinking Water Well Sampling
Marine Corps Outlying Landing Field (MCOLF) Atlantic, located in Atlantic, North Carolina, has been in operation since 1942 and is an active outlying landing field that supports training operations for MCAS Cherry Point. Equipment testing, training and firefighting activities that use a compound known as aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) may have been conducted at MCOLF. Some AFFF contains per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS. These substances may be present in the soil and/or groundwater as a result of historical activities at MCOLF Atlantic. There is no historical documentation that indicates AFFF was used, disposed of, or stored at MCOLF Atlantic. In an abundance of caution, due to the historical operations at MCOLF that included the presence of emergency response equipment, the Navy conducted and has completed drinking water sampling for certain PFAS in drinking water wells in the vicinity of MCOLF.
As of March 2018, the following actions have been taken in the MCOLF Atlantic Drinking Water Study:
October 2017 – The initial press release is sent on Oct. 3 announcing the first public meeting to be held in the community of Atlantic, North Carolina, and describing the Navy’s plan to conduct drinking water well testing in the vicinity of Atlantic Field. The release gives brief background information on the EPA’s lifetime health advisory for PFAS, its common usage since the 1950s, including its use in the commercial firefighting foam used by the Navy and Marine Corps, and why the Navy feels it is necessary to test drinking water near the airfield. It also includes links to websites with more detailed information on PFAS and the Navy’s investigation, and with information on how Atlantic property owners can sign up for drinking water testing.
October 2017 – Letters are mailed to property owners in the community of Atlantic, announcing the meeting and describing the Navy’s plan to explain private drinking water testing in the community surrounding Atlantic Field.
October 2017 – Prior to the first open public meeting, by invitation from a local official, the Navy meets on Oct. 4 with the Atlantic Civic & Beautification Committee, a group of Atlantic citizens who reportedly can help spread the word about the investigation to the community. Media is invited and attends.
November 2017 – Newspaper ads announcing the public meeting are purchased to be published in the New Bern Sun Journal (Sunday 11/5), Havelock News (Thursday 11/2), and the Carteret County News-Times (Sunday 10/29 and Sunday 11/5), and their related websites.
November 2017 – The first open house public meeting is held at the Atlantic Elementary School on Nov. 8 to explain the sampling program to the community and respond to questions from the public. The meeting is conducted in an open house format to allow visitors to freely roam through a series of information stations covering various topics related to PFAS and the Navy investigation. It also serves as an opportunity for property owners to sign up to have their drinking water sampled and tested. On hand at the meeting and working in partnership with the Navy are representatives from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, North Carolina Division of Public Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4, and Carteret County Department of Health. Media also attends the event.
November 2017 – Water sampling begins in Atlantic. Initial lab results begin arriving before the end of the month. Property owners are called immediately after initial lab results come in to inform them whether or not they have an exceedance of the EPA lifetime health advisory for PFAS.
November 2017 – First round of testing includes drinking water source for Atlantic Elementary School (public), which results in a non-detection of PFAS and immediate notification to school officials.
November 2017 – Second press release is sent Nov. 28 announcing the first round of lab results and providing background information on the Navy investigation.
February 2018 – Newspaper ads announcing the public meeting are published in the New Bern Sun Journal (Sunday 2/10 and Sunday 2/17), Havelock News (Thursday 2/15), and the Carteret County News-Times (Sunday 2/11 and Sunday 2/18) and their related websites.
February 2018 - A follow-up letter with validated lab results is mailed to the property owners after the lab results are verified. The letter also announces the second public meeting scheduled in February.
February 2018 – Third press release is sent Feb. 12 announcing the schedule for a second public meeting to be held in Atlantic and announcing the plan for a second round of drinking water sampling in the community.
February 2018 – A postcard is sent to property owners in Atlantic who did not take advantage of the first round of testing offering to test remaining untested residential drinking water wells, and also announces the second public meeting scheduled in February.
February 2018 – The second open house public meeting is held at the Atlantic Elementary School on Feb. 21 to explain the sampling program to the community and respond to questions from the public. The meeting is conducted in an open floor format to allow visitors to freely roam through a series of information stations covering various topics related to PFAS and the Navy investigation. It also serves as a second opportunity for property owners to sign up to have their drinking water sampled and tested. On hand at the meeting and working in partnership with the Navy are representatives from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, North Carolina Division of Public Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the Carteret County Health Department. Media also attends the event.
March 2018 – Water sampling continues in Atlantic. Initial lab results begin arriving by mid-month and property owners are called immediately after initial lab results come in to inform them whether or not they have an exceedance of the EPA LHA for PFAS.
March 2018 – By March 28, the total number of drinking water samples reaches 258. Of those results, 2 samples exceed the EPA LHA for PFAS – both from samples taken during the initial round of sampling in 2017. Both property owners have been contacted and provided opportunity for immediate alternate drinking water delivery until a suitable long-term solution is determined.
MCOLF Atlantic PFAS Drinking Water Results
|MCOLF Atlantic - Results as of Tuesday October 1, 2019|
|Number of Parcels Potentially Impacted*||Number of Drinking Water Wells Permitted to Test||Number of Drinking Water Wells Tested||Number of Drinking Water Wells above the LHA||Number of Drinking Water Wells below the LHA||Estimated Number of Households/ Businesses Potentially Impacted|
* Includes developed and undeveloped/vacant lots
Currently, property owners with untested drinking water wells may sign up for testing. We are still in the very early phases of the investigation, seeking evidence of possible use of AFFF on the airfield. Although the initial drinking water tests on the airfield showed no contamination from these substances, we will conduct further testing on the airfield using a systematic testing pattern, as well as tests at potential sites if there are any identified during the investigation. The investigation will include interviews, records checks, and anything that could point us toward possible use of AFFF. From there, we will seek to determine if there is a connection between potential use on the airfield and the exceedances discovered in the community.
Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances
PFAS are manufactured chemicals that have been used since the 1950s in many household and industrial products because of their stain‐ and water‐repellant properties. Within Department of the Navy’s (DON) operations, PFAS are most commonly associated with aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) used primarily for firefighting (including response to plane crashes, equipment testing, and/or training, hangars where AFFF was used in the fire suppression system), but can also be contained in some other materials (e.g., paints and stains) and wastes/mixed wastes. PFAS are now present virtually everywhere in the world because of the large amounts that have been manufactured and used. Once these compounds are released to the environment, they break down very slowly. As indicated on the USEPA website, the term per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is preferred over perfluorinated compounds (PFC) to collectively describe perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS), and the hundreds of other fully fluorinated synthetic organic chemicals included in this group of toxic compounds, and to distinguish them from perfluorocarbons (also abbreviated PFC), a group of chemicals closely related to PFAS that are non-toxic, but are potent greenhouse gases. PFAS are considered “emerging” contaminants, which have no Safe Drinking Water Act regulatory standards or routine water quality testing requirements. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is currently studying PFAS to determine if national regulation is needed.
The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) amendments require that once every five years USEPA issue a new list of no more than 30 unregulated contaminants to be monitored by public water systems (PWSs). The USEPA issued the third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 3) in May 2012. The UCMR 3 required monitoring, between 2013 and 2015, for 30 substances of all large PWSs serving more than 10,000 people and 800 representative PWSs serving 10,000 or fewer people. Six PFAS compounds were included in the UCMR 3 contaminant list; in May 2016 the USEPA has issued health advisories for only two of these six PFAS, PFOA and PFOS, and has published toxicity values for another, PFBS. Health advisory levels are not regulatory standards. They are health‐based concentrations which should offer a margin of protection for all Americans throughout their lives from adverse health effects resulting from exposure to PFOS and PFOA in drinking water. The EPA health advisory level for lifetime exposure is 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOS and 70 ppt for PFOA. When both PFOS and PFOA are found in drinking water, the combined concentrations should not exceed 70 ppt.
The DON issued a policy in 2014 requiring on-base drinking water sampling for PFO and PFOS for bases where groundwater was used as drinking water and PFAS could have been released nearby in the past. Under the policy, all installations not previously tested under UCMR 3 which produce drinking water from on-installation sources and have an identified or suspected PFAS release within approximately one-mile up-gradient to the drinking water source were required to sample their finished drinking water by December 2015. In June 2016, the DON issued additional policy that required all DON installations not previously tested under UCMR 3 or the 2014 policy to test their finished drinking water regardless of the source (on-installation or municipal) regardless of an occurrence and location of a an potential/known PFAS release to the environment.
In June 2016, the DON also issued a policy to identify and prioritize sites for investigation if drinking water resources, on- or off-installation, are thought to be vulnerable to PFAS contamination from past known or potential Navy releases of PFAS. Sites with drinking water sources within one-mile downgradient from known or potential releases of PFAS were assigned the highest priority. As a result of this evaluation, downgradient off-base drinking water supply wells were identified within one mile of MCOLF Atlantic.
MCOLF Drinking Water Investigation Documents
MCOLF Atlantic Drinking Water Investigation Fact Sheet (October 2017)
Sample Invitation Letters to Property Owners (October 2017)
MCOLF Atlantic press release (October 3, 2017)
MCOLF Atlantic Open House Posters (November 8, 2017)
MCOLF Atlantic press release (November 28, 2017)
Sampling Reminder Postcard to Property Owners (November 2017)
Sample Results Letter to Property Owners (February 2018)
MCOLF Atlantic Drinking Water Investigation Fact Sheet (updated February 2018)
Postcard Invitation to Open House (February 2018)
MCOLF Atlantic press release (February 12, 2018)
MCOLF Atlantic Open House Posters (February 21, 2018)
Drinking Water Sampling FAQ
ATSDR Per- and polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Frequently Asked Questions
ATSDR Interim Guidance: An Overview of Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and Interim Guidance for Clinicians Responding to Patient Exposure Concerns
ATSDR Perfluoroalkyls – ToxFAQs
ATSDR ToxGuide for Perfluoroalkyls
Minnesota Department of Health Summary of Results: Perfluorochemicals in Home and Gardens Study
New York Department of Health: In-home Water Filtration Options for Household Drinking Water
USEPA Fact Sheet: PFOA & PFOS Drinking Water Health Advisories
Point of Contact
MCAS Cherry Point
Public Affairs Officer