Recent tests on local wells near Dover Air Force Base revealed the problem of tainted wells adjacent to the base may be more widespread than once thought. Since 2015, the base has been testing nearby wells for contamination of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). One tainted well was identified in 2016. After base officials encouraged further testing, four new wells showed PFAS levels that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency standard of 70 parts per trillion. In fact, the Delaware wells showed the fourth highest levels of PFAS toxic chemicals for all United States military sites across the country. PFAS manmade chemicals have been linked to a host of adverse health problems, including cancer. The discovery of these contaminated wells raises questions about how to protect residents accessing these wells and if it makes sense to continue with additional testing.
PFAS are manmade chemicals manufactured and are used in a variety of ways since the 1940s. While two of the more widely used chemicals in the PFAS group are no longer manufactured in the United States, they are still imported into this country in everyday consumer goods, including clothing, packaging, paper, and plastics. In Dover, residents accessing the contaminated wells are exposed to PFAS in their drinking water.
Chemicals included under the PFAS umbrella have been linked to:
In Delaware, experts believe the use of a certain type of firefighter foam is to blame for excessive PFAS levels in the contaminated wells.
Until a more permanent solution is available, the state Division of Public Health is advising impacted businesses and residents to use bottled water. In addition to providing this bottled water, the Air Force is considering long-term solutions, such as home filtration systems, connecting affected buildings to the city’s water supply, and possibly constructing new, deeper wells at these sites.
Some Delaware legislators say the Department of Defense is not doing enough to address the threat of PFAS to area residents. One top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is calling for PFAS to be classified as hazardous substances subject to federal environment protection laws. Taking this step would require a more comprehensive cleanup effort from the Department of Defense. More Delaware residents may soon be asking questions about PFAS contamination as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced plans to conduct testing around New Castle Air National Guard Base into 2020.
If you believe your illness was caused by your exposure to PFAS or other hazardous chemicals, contact a skilled Georgetown toxic tort lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Toxic exposure can lead to lifelong health problems. Let us seek the compensation you deserve for your illness. Call 302-656-5445 or complete the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Georgetown and Wilmington, Delaware, we proudly represent clients throughout the state, including Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.