Hundreds of drinking water wells near military bases or other facilities in Washington have been contaminated by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, according to a Seattle Times analysis of the past two years of test results published by the military.
So far, the military has confirmed the release of these “forever chemicals,” named for their pervasiveness in the environment, at 10 military installments in the state, many of them near the Salish Sea.
PFAS were detected by Department of Defense testing in 866 private drinking water wells, nearly half of all wells tested by the military in the past two years in the state.
Concentrations of the chemicals in 551 of the contaminated wells were above the levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to protect human health. But nearly 430 of those fall below levels that prompt the military to take action, such as providing clean drinking water. Well owners are notified of testing before it takes place.
The data analyzed by The Times doesn't include the results of tests taken before 2021.
The military is in the process of evaluating the risk to human health and the environment in the areas around the facilities as part of a cleanup process.
It is also preparing to implement the EPA's final drinking water standard in the next few months, Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Jurgensen said in an email to The Seattle Times. “The Department is expanding ongoing…