Water tests show chemical levels south of Academy non-detectable or well below EPA health Advisory levels

  • Published
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Validated test results from residential drinking-water wells south of the Academy showed 40 samples had non-detectable levels, and three wells did not exceed 20 parts per trillion, for Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perflourooctanoic Acid (PFOA). The Environmental Protection Agency's Drinking Water Lifetime Health Advisory (LHA) for PFOS/PFOA is 70 parts-per-trillion.

The Air Force began testing private drinking water wells in the Woodmen Valley Fire Protection District, including the Woodmen Valley and Thunderbird Estates neighborhoods in September after an Air Force site inspection revealed groundwater samples from four areas on the Academy above the EPA’s LHA of 70 parts-per-trillion for PFOS and PFOA.

Samples were sent to Bureau Veritas Laboratories in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, for testing.  Bureau Veritas is one of four laboratories certified by the Defense Department's Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program to conduct testing. Results were then validated by an independent third party.

The Air Force will continue to monitor PFOS and PFOA levels on a periodic basis at several locations along the installation’s southeast perimeter.

PFOS and PFOA are part of a family of synthetic fluorinated chemicals called per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, used for many years in industrial and consumer products that resist heat, stains, grease and water, as well as in commercial industry and military firefighting foam.

Firefighting foam containing PFOS and PFOA was used at the Academy from the 1970s until 1990 for firefighter training. After that time, the equipment used to dispense the foam was periodically tested until approximately 2005. The Air Force now uses foam formula that meets military requirements and the goals of the EPA’s 2010/15 PFOS Stewardship Program.