The Air Force committed more than $35 million in previously dedicated environmental cleanup funds toward PFAS contamination mitigation efforts at the former Pease Air Force Base, N.H., the New Hampshire Union Leader has reported.
Last month the Air Force acknowledged it had diverted more than $66 million from a number of non-PFAS cleanup projects across the country to go toward other mitigation efforts related to PFAS contamination, as On Base has previously reported.
In June the Pentagon released a list of military installations where DOD diverted, or planned to divert, non-PFAS funds to build groundwater and drinking water treatment facilities for communities around Pease, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., and Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Mich.
On June 5, Ellen Lord, DOD Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment, sent the list of diverted projects to Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who in March was among four Democratic senators who initially requested the list.
According to the list Lord provided, 26 cleanup projects lost funding due to the $66 million diversion of funds.
Carper has since released the letter publicly.
“DOD takes its cleanup responsibility seriously and undertakes these actions in an open and transparent manner,” Lord wrote. “Our priority is to quickly address the presence of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water that resulted from DoD activities.”
The diverted PFAS cleanup funds will also pay for PFAS testing at 16 former Air Force installations, according to the Union Leader report.
Of the cleanup funding diverted to Pease, more than $7 million will fund a new groundwater treatment plant for drinking water in Newington, north of the former installation’s firefighting training area.
Recognized today as potentially hazardous toxins, PFOS and PFOA are present in firefighting foam DOD has used since the 1970s to extinguish petroleum fires, according to Air Force civil engineer officials.
Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Enjoli Saunders