The Defense Department says military investigators are checking if chemicals from its firefighting foam may have contaminated groundwater at hundreds of sites nationwide, including more than two dozen sites in South Carolina.
The Associated Press reports the Pentagon identified 664 fire or crash training sites and has begun to assess the risk to groundwater at each. There are 26 sites at seven different current and former military installations in South Carolina, according to military documents released to the wire service.
Military leaders are concerned after drinking water tests at a landing field in Virginia found perfluorinated chemicals in higher amounts than recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Navy has begun distributing bottled water to those near the site and is testing nearby wells. Another discovery was made at monitoring wells in a New Jersey naval weapons station.
Defense Department officials say they are assessing the risk to groundwater at the training sites. The agency is investigating if the chemicals’ presence is the result of foam used for fuel fires and training simulations. The foam contains perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, which the EPA considers emerging contaminants.
The South Carolina sites being tested break down into three Navy or Marine facilities and four Air Force-affiliated installations. They break down as follows:
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort — 3 sites
Charleston Naval Station (now closed) — 3 sites
Marine Corps Recruiting Depot Parris Island — 3 sites
AIR FORCE/AIR NATIONAL GUARD:
Joint Base Charleston Air Base — 6 sites
McEntire Joint National Guard Base — 3 sites
Myrtle Beach Air Force Base (now closed) — 5 sites
Shaw Air Force Base — 3 sites