“Military officials said at a meeting Wednesday that they’ve found perfluorinated compounds — or PFAS — at levels up to nearly 300,000 parts per trillion in groundwater at the former NASJRB Willow Grove base in Horsham, drawing audible surprise from a crowd of a few dozen. Attendees of the meeting, held quarterly by officials to discuss ongoing environmental issues at the base, also criticized the military on the speed of PFAS cleanup and heard more details from state Department of Health officials on an upcoming blood testing program.

The revelation that 300,000 ppt of PFAS chemicals had been found in groundwater came during a presentation of the Air National Guard, which still operates the Horsham Air Guard Station in a corner of the former Willow Grove station. The Air National Guard is responsible for cleanup on that base, while the Navy is responsible for cleanup on the rest of its former property. Both areas previously used firefighting foams that contained the PFAS compounds and led to the environmental contamination.

The 300,000 ppt figure — which is 4,285 times higher than the safe drinking water limit recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency for the chemicals — was not published in a presentation delivered Wednesday by Air Guard contractor Leidos, but came through the questions of Horsham resident Joseph Feliciani, who also is an attorney suing private manufacturers of firefighting foam…

This news organization visited a state Department of Environmental Protection record room to review a draft report in which the 300,000 ppt measurement is recorded. The report also included a graphical depiction of a “plume map,” which has not otherwise been publicly displayed, showing the extent of the underground contamination. It shows the pocket of most highly contaminated groundwater, from which the sample was taken, sits at the southern end of the Air Guard Station, near its border with the former NASJRB Willow Grove property.

The pocket, which is shown as entirely exceeding 100,000 ppt, starts about 50 feet below ground and continues approximately another 200 feet deeper. A cross-section shows the pocket is at least several hundred feet across along both its length and width. The plume shows chemical levels decreasing toward the northern and eastern edges of the Air Guard Station, with shallow groundwater levels ranging from several hundred to several thousand parts per trillion as water leaves the base property.

The revelation added fuel to a crowd already critical of the speed at which the military is moving to investigate and clean PFAS from the area. The military is now in its fourth year of responding to the contamination.”

Read the full article by Kyle Bagenstose.