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DoD expects to wrap investigation of PFAS pollution by 2024

Stan Karwoski, a senior fire test technician at the Naval Research Laboratory, tests the effectiveness of aqueous film-forming foam by spraying it on a gasoline fire in a 28- square foot container in laboratory in Chesapeake Beach, Md., Oct. 25, 2019. Photo by David Vergun/DoD
Stan Karwoski, a senior fire test technician at the Naval Research Laboratory, tests the effectiveness of aqueous film-forming foam by spraying it on a gasoline fire in a 28- square foot container in laboratory in Chesapeake Beach, Md., Oct. 25, 2019. Photo by David Vergun/DoD

June 3 (UPI) -- Investigators have identified 698 installations where the U.S. Department of Defense used or potentially released perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (also known as PFAS), and assessed about 129, a top Pentagon official told lawmakers last week.

During testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee, Richard Kidd, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment and energy resilience, said of the 129 installations assessed, 63 were found to require no further action -- but 66 "are proceeding to the remedial investigation and feasibility study."

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He also said he expects all of the preliminary assessments and site investigations on all military sites to be completed by the first quarter of 2024, according to a Pentagon press release describing Kidd's testimony.

Kidd described the 30-year-old Defense Environmental Restoration Program as "a mature, effective cleanup program."

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PFAS chemicals are found in many consumer products, as well as in a firefighting foam used by the Defense Department as well as civilian firefighting organizations and many industries.

Kidd estimated that the remaining cleanup for all sites -- including those with PFAS contamination -- will be about $29 billion.

"Based on what we know today, and known technologies, frankly, it will be years before we fully define the scope of the problem," Kidd said "And after that, probably decades before cleanup is complete," he said.

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In April of last year the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit that advocates for clean air and water, released an interactive map of industrial operations that have likely released PFAS into air and water supplies.

It found 2,500 industrial operations where PFAS chemicals have likely been released -- including 670 U.S. military sites where PFAS water contamination was linked to chemicals used in fire-retardant foams.

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