Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

The Social Discovery of a Class of Emerging Contaminants

Westchester County Airport — Westchester County, NY & Greenwich, CT

Suspected contamination source: Firefighting foam used at the airport

In 1942, Westchester County Airport was built as a base for the Air National Guard during World War II. The Air National Guard discontinued use of the airport in 1983 (Wilson, 2018).

In November 2017, Westchester tested groundwater at the airport, in eight wells between 13 and 52 feet below ground. The wells were formerly part of the county’s groundwater monitoring program from 2001 to 2011, until the program was discontinued under the administration of former County Executive Rob Astorino (Wilson, 2018).

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Contaminated well, Westchester County Airport

One well was found to have PFOA & PFOS levels above EPA guideline. The contaminated well supplies an office building at 1-3 New King Street. The well contamination is particularly concerning because of its proximity to the Kensico Reservoir and to public water supply wells in Connecticut.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) informed Westchester County of the well contamination on July 25, 2017 and advised that occupants of the affected building use bottled water until the problem is remediated. In August, the DEC and the Department of Health demanded that the county test 14 of its abandoned groundwater monitoring wells in order to determine where the contaminants are coming from and where they are flowing. The demand also included that the county must provide bottled water to, and install a water treatment system for, the affected office building. The county agreed to DEC’s demands in October 2017, and the DEC approved the county’s plan in November (Citizens for a Responsible County Airport).


Additional Resources:

Media Coverage:

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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