Wright-Patt treating tainted water in contaminated drinking wells


Wright-Patt treating tainted water in contaminated drinking wells

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The Air Force has built a $2.7 million water treatment facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to scrub contaminants from two drinking wells at the sprawling base. The base expects to begin drawing water in May out of the wells shut down last year. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF

Two tainted drinking water wells that serve thousands at Wright-Patterson started pumping water in June after a more than year-long shut down, an environmental official says.

The latest drinking water samples pumped out of the two tainted wells show the treated water has nearly “non detectable” indicators of contaminants typically found in firefighting foam, according to Raymond F. Baker, 88th Civil Engineer Group branch chief.

Crews built a $2.7 million water treatment system that uses charcoal filters to strip contamination out of the water. Two groundwater production wells in Area A exceed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency health advisory limits of 70 parts per trillion for lifetime exposure to perfluooctanoic acid, or PFOA, and perfluoroctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, results show. The contaminants typically have been found in fire fighting foam sprayed at Wright-Patterson, officials have said.

Before treatment, one well show contaminant levels around 700 parts per trillion and the second at about 200 parts per trillion, Baker said Thursday. Wright-Patterson started pumping drinking water out of the wells on June 2., he said. Contamination forced shutdown of the wells in May 2016. At the time, a health advisory was issued for pregnant women and infants.

The Miami Valley base has six drinking water wells in Area A that serve 16,500 people, according to Wright-Patterson spokeswoman Marie Vanover.

The base has four additional drinking wells in Area B. Wright-Patterson has an estimated 27,000 employees.

The Ohio EPA has had concerns a groundwater contamination plume could reach seven city of Dayton water production wells at Huffman Dam near the military installation.

The Huffman Dam wells, shut down in April as a precaution, remain closed, according to Michele D. Simmons, a city water department environmental manager.

In June, the city tested groundwater monitoring wells on the site which showed contamination levels were below the EPA threshold of 70 parts per trillion, she said in an email Thursday.


This newspaper was the first to report on groundwater contamination issues at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the potential threat to city of Dayton water production wells at Huffman Dam. Count on us to keep you informed on the latest news on this important issue.

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