Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

The Social Discovery of a Class of Emerging Contaminants

Westhampton, Suffolk County, NY

Suspected source: Firefighting foam used at the Air National Guard Base at Gabreski Airport

According to the NYSDEC, elevated PFAS levels were initially detected in public-supply wells to the south of Gabreski Airport in 2014.

On April 25, 2016, NYSDEC added PFOS to the state’s hazardous substances list in order to make use of the State Superfund program. Monitoring was conducted by the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) under the EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, which found PFOS in public supply wells near the New York State Air National Guard Base at Gabreski Airport located at Old Riverhead Road in Westhampton Beach.

The public water supply is being treated to remove contamination and currently meets all state and federal drinking water standards, as well as the US EPA health advisory level for PFOS and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

The NYSDEC identified the Air National Guard Base, and the former fire training area at the airport, as a potential Superfund site due to historic use of firefighting foam containing PFOS in July of 2016. NYSDEC conducted an investigation, taking soil and groundwater samples at the base, which confirmed that the site is a significant source of PFOS contamination.

Gabreski

 

After concluding that the Base is a major source of PFOS contamination, the Air National Guard agreed to work with the SCDHS and SCWA to provide a safe and alternative water supply to those affected.

Area residents filed suit against 3M, claiming that 3M used PFOS and PFOA in AFFF and should have known it was toxic. Another lawsuit was filed against Suffolk County and NYS DEC by Melville & Manhattan firm on behalf of about 200 residents.


Full citations are available on the second page of the full contamination site tracker. We ask for your additions, changes, questions and comments be sent to pfasproject@gmail.com.

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