HomeNewsArticle Display

Fairchild continues thorough investigation with phase 3 of groundwater sampling

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Air Force Civil Engineer Center will continue sampling off-base wells for elevated levels of Perfluorooctanesulfonic (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acids (PFOA) to the north and south of Fairchild AFB, beginning July 10.

Base officials will begin testing approximately 50 residential wells for elevated levels of PFOS/PFOA. Testing is estimated to continue through next week.

The decision to continue this phase of sampling is a result of three out of nine wells on base that were found to be above the EPA health advisory levels.

“We are working closely with our partners in Airways Heights to navigate this complex issue together,” said Marc Connally, restoration project manager of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center at Fairchild. “We make our decisions about areas to sample based upon three criteria: probability the Air Force mission was a source of contamination, our proximity to drinking water sources, and if there is a pathway between our installation and the water supply.”

Once the testing is complete, the preliminary results will take approximately 45 days to return to base officials, at which point, individual residents will be personally notified of their results. The validated results will be mailed to the impacted resident.

“Our goal from the onset of this has been transparency. Our communities deserve to know what we know because this is a concern to all of us,” said Col. Ryan Samuelson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “We will continue to update the community as AFCEC releases information concerning groundwater sampling to keep our neighbors informed throughout this process.”

Phase 1 of sampling included 23 private wells to the east and south east of the base. Seventeen were above HA levels, one was below and five wells did not have any detectable PFOS/PFOA.

Phase 2 included four municipal wells, two monitoring wells and 28 residential wells that were also to the east of the base. Two Airway Heights municipal wells and three residential wells were above the HA level. The other two municipal wells, as well as 20 residential wells, did not have any detectable levels of PFOS/PFOA. Five residential wells had detectable levels below the HA level.

All residents whose water supply had levels above the HA were notified and provided bottled water immediately after preliminary results were received.

For health and private well sampling information, concerned residents are encouraged to contact Spokane Regional Health District, Environmental Public Health Office at 509-324-1460.

More information on the Air Force’s proactive approach to environmental stewardship and PFOS/PFOA contaminant testing can be found at our website at www.fairchild.af.mil/PFOS-PFOA-INFO.

For more information, please contact the Fairchild AFB Public Affairs office at 247-5705 or email 92arw.pa@us.af.mil