Chanute Air Force Base Drinking Water PFAS ContaminationOctober 9, 2023
Fort Bragg/Fort Liberty PFAS ContaminationOctober 9, 2023
2016 groundwater sampling at the Former England Air Force Base Louisiana tested for PFAS levels of 20,700,000ppt. The former England Air Force Base, Louisiana PFAS Drinking Water Contamination reports showed the presence of PFHxS PFOS, PFOA, PFBS, PFHpA, and PFNA. This contamination resulted from the PFAS-based AFFF used at the former Base to put out fires and for firefighting training activities.
Recent studies on the health effects of PFAS have shown that perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) exposure increases the risk of certain illnesses and health conditions including kidney and liver problems and cancers, testicular cancer, infertility, pregnancy-related problems, decreased immunity, among others.
Thousands of soldiers and civilians at the former England Air Force base might have been exposed to PFAS through direct contact with the aqueous firefighting foam (AFFF) or contaminated medium such as drinking water, soil, and air. Stephens and Stephens LLP represent victims of PFAS exposure at US Military Bases. If you or your loved one was diagnosed with a PFAS-related illness after living at an army base where AFFF was used, you could be eligible for compensation. Contact us for a free case evaluation.
Defendants in these lawsuits are the leading PFAS-AFFF manufacturers in the US, including 3M, DuPont, Chemguard, Inc., National Foam, Inc., Tyco Fire Products, Buckeye Fire Equipment, Kidde, BASF Corporation, Dynax Corporation, Chemicals Incorporated, Sentinel Emergency Solutions, LLC, Carrier Global Corporation, Archroma U.S., Inc., Arkema Inc., PBI Performance Products, Inc., Raytheon Technologies Corporation, AGC Chemicals Americas Inc., Amerex Corporation and Clariant Corporation.
About the England Air Force Base
England AFB is the most contaminated worldwide, with the highest PFAS detected from groundwater at the Base. It was established as Alexandria Municipal in 1939 and later renamed Alexandria Army Air Base. Until 1945, the Base was used as a combat training school. After World War II, the Base was inactive and transferred to The City of Alexandria under the Surplus Property Act to the War Assets Administration. The City transformed the Base into a commercial airline and civil airlift operations facility.
In 1950, the US Air Force activated the USAF reactivated Alexandria Army Air Base for pilot and crew training in jet fighter aircraft. In 1955, the USAF took over the Air Force Base and named it England AFB in honor of Lieutenant Colonel John B. England. The Base was closed in 1992, and the US Air Force issued a Property Disposal Record of Decision (ROD) for the Base disposition. Most of the installation went to the England Economic and Industrial Development District (EEIDD) for airport services. The City of Alexandria owns 0.69 acres for small arms pistol range and the Federal Aviation Administration 2.91 acres. The England Air Force Base fully closed in 2011, transferring the remaining land. The former airbase has various facilities, including an airport, a golf course, and a higher learning institution.
There are two groundwater sources within the former England Air Force Base: the Red River Alluvial and the Miocene Aquifers. The Red River Alluvial Aquifer is more significant, extending to the larger Alexandria area, and it occurs at 40 to 100 feet below ground surface (bgs).
England Air Force Base, Louisiana PFAS Drinking Water Contamination investigation
In March 2015, a groundwater monitoring well at the former England Air Force Base tested for the highest combined PFOA and PFOS of 10.97 million parts per trillion.
Since 2016, several PFAS investigations have been conducted at the former England Air Force Base by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). They include a preliminary assessment of the site (AMEC 2016a) and two site inspections AMEC 2016b and AFFF final inspection report (Aerostar SES, LLC 2019.
The first CERCLA Site Inspection (AMEC 2016a) found groundwater samples from former firefighting areas to contain high PFAS levels exceeding the US Environmental Protection Agency’s lifetime health advisory. These firefighting areas include FT005 (SWMU 58) and FT014 (SWMU 38).
The 2016 CERCLA Site investigation (AMEC 2016b) was intended to assess PFAS levels in groundwater and surface and subsurface soil at SWMU 58 (FT005). The SWMU 58 (FT005) is a former pit area (75 feet in diameter and surrounded by a 1.5 ft.-foot earthen berm) where firefighting training activities were conducted from 1966 to 1981. The groundwater sampling at SWMU 58 established PFAS and PFOA levels exceeding the USEPA advisory limits. However, the PFOS and PFOA in the surface and sub-surface soil from the areas were undetectable.
The CERCLA SI (Aerostar SES, LLC 2019) identified PFOA and PFOS concentrations exceeding the EPA advisory limits in groundwater at Solid waste management units (SWMUs) 29 and 332.
It is, however, essential to note that there are no surface water sources within 15 miles of the former Air Force facility. Also, the Land use controls (LUCs) during the property transfer established a groundwater use restriction throughout the Base. The groundwater restriction prohibits installing wells and using groundwater without the approval of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ). The entire area receives drinking water from the City of Alexandria. Plans for remedial investigations at the Base are underway to further investigate the PFOS/PFOA contamination.
Other contaminants discovered at the Former base groundwater in a majority of the wells (at least 30 out of 41 wells) include Trichloroethene, cis-1,2-Dichloroethene, 1,1-Dichloroethene, trans-1,2-Dichloroethene, and Vinyl chloride.
In 2017, the DOD conducted a PFAS investigation at groundwater monitoring wells at England Airpark (within the former England Air Base). They reported PFOA and PFOS exceeding the EPA advisory limits in all eight groundwater monitoring wells tested. In their statement, the DOD explained that not some water locations that tested positive for PFAS did not feed to drinking water sources because none of these wells were drinking water wells.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and CDC are reviewing DOD reports to establish if chemicals found in drinking water sources are linked to cancer cases among the service members.
Migration of contaminated water at the former England Air Force Base
It is unlikely that the Base contamination has had any impact on drinking water within the City of Alexandria region. According to the CERCLA Site investigation, the base-contaminated groundwater cannot migrate to neighboring downgradient groundwater supply wells within a mile radius due to the groundwater well depths. Also, the Dough Hills in the region act as a confining unit. Additionally, there are no surface drinking water sources within 15 miles of the Base. The USAF has not conducted remedial investigations to establish any PFAS health and environmental risks related to the England Air Force Base AFFF contamination.
Effects of PfAS exposure at military bases
Numerous studies have also shown that firefighters exposed to PFAS-based firefighting foam (AFFF) are at increased risk of developing testicular cancer. The diagnosis of testicular cancer among those frequently exposed to PFAS-AFFF is higher than those who don’t use the PFAS firefighting foam. The study linked PFAS exposure to testicular germ cell tumors, which account for over 9.5 out of 10 testicular cancer cases. Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed among military service members below 40 years.
In a recent study, blood samples collected from military personnel between 1988 and 2017 showed a link between High PFOS and testicular cancer. The researchers of the National Cancer Institute and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences drew blood samples from Air Force service members. They concluded that airforce firefighters had higher PFAS levels in their blood. The blood PFAS concentration of Airmen diagnosed with testicular cancer was also higher than those without the illness. The study aimed to investigate the cause of the increasing cancer rate among the military service population. It involved blood samples from 530 soldiers who later developed testicular cancer and an equal population of a control group.
Studies by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have shown a strong link between PFAS exposure and specific health effects, including kidney cancer, reduced vaccine response, pregnancy-related problems, thyroid disease, testicular cancer and liver illnesses.
File for an AFFF-PFAS Lawsuit
Evidence shows that AFFF manufacturers knew about the product’s health effects and failed to warn the government and the public. Military service members have been exposed to the PFAS in the aqueous firefighting foam since the 1970s. 2019/2020 statistics show that 11.3% of US military service members and veterans have been diagnosed with cancer. Military personnel using the firefighting foam were told that it was safe.
There are various ways through which military personnel are exposed to PFAS, including drinking water, direct contact with skin, inhalation, and ingestion of foods grown in PFAS-contaminated soil.
You could be eligible for compensation if you suffer from any PFAS-related health condition after living at a military Base where PFAS was used. Stephens and Stephens LLP represent victims of PFAS exposure. Contact Hugh Stephens for a free case evaluation.