PFAS Reading Room

PFAS Sources Graphic
Source: https://www.wrd.org/content/pfas-information-0

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, buildings where AFFF was used in the fire suppression system). PFAS can also be contained in some other materials (e.g., certain specialty paints) and wastes. PFAS are now present virtually everywhere in the world because of the large amounts that have been manufactured and used by international consumers and industry, as well as the military. Once these compounds are released to the environment, they break down very slowly. 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 issues 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 (UCMR3) in May 2012. Therefore, between 2013 and 2015, all large PWSs serving more than 10,000 people and 800 representative PWSs serving 10,000 or fewer people analyzed drinking water samples for the 30 UCMR 3 compounds, which included six PFAS compounds. In May 2016 the USEPA issued health advisories for two PFAS compounds, specifically PFOA and PFOS. Health advisories are not regulatory standards, but they are health‐based concentrations which offer a margin of protection for all Americans throughout their lives from exposure to PFOS and PFOA in drinking water. The USEPA 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 Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment) (ASN (EI&E)) issued a policy in 2014 requiring on-base drinking water sampling for PFOA and PFOS for bases where groundwater was used as drinking water and PFAS could have been released nearby in the past. Under the policy, drinking water sources from on-installation sources were required to sample their finished drinking water by December 2015 if they had not previously been tested under UCMR3 and if an identified or suspected PFAS release was within approximately 1-mile up-gradient to the drinking water source. In June 2016, the DON issued an additional policy that required all DON installations not previously tested under UCMR3 or the 2014 policy to test their finished drinking water regardless of the drinking water source (installation or municipal) and regardless of proximity to a potential/known PFAS release to the environment.

In June 2016, the DON ASN (EI&E) 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.

Recommended PFAS Treatment Methodologies

Fact Sheets


Former Naval Arctic Research Lab Barrow


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NAS Alameda

MCLB Barstow

NAWS China Lake

MCAS El Toro

Former NSY Mare Island

NAS North Island

NAS Point Mugu

NBVC Point Mugu

NFELC Port Hueneme

NS Treasure Island

MCAS Tustin

MCAGCC Twentynine Palms


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District of Columbia
Washington Navy Yard


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Corry Station CID

NAS Cecil Field

NAS Jacksonville

NTC Orlando

NAS Pensacola

NAS Whiting Field


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Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Pearl Harbor

Public Works Center Pearl Harbor


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NSA Crane


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NSWC Louisville


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New York
NWIRP Bethpage

NWIRP Calverton


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North Carolina
MCAS Cherry Point

MCB Camp Lejeune


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NAWC Warminster

NASJRB Willow Grove


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South Carolina
MCRD Parris Island


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NSA Mid-South


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NSWC Dahlgren

NB Norfolk

NSY Norfolk

NAS Oceana

NWS Yorktown


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NAS Whidbey Island

NAS Whidbey Island, Ault Field

NAS Whidbey Island, Outlying Landing Field Coupeville


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