LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will begin an exposure assessment of drinking water in wells near Reese Technology Center.
This is to look into the amount of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – also known as PFAS – in the wells, where amounts are above federal and state guidelines. However, residents served by Lubbock Water Utility are not included because they have a different source of drinking water.
Households in the assessment areas will be invited to participate and a community meeting will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 22 inside Terra Vista Middle School at 1111 Upland Ave.
These assessments look into whether people in an area were exposed to specific substances in their environment. PFAS have been commonly used in industry and consumer products since the 1950s, usually in non-stick cookware, water repellent clothing; stain resistant fabrics; some cosmetic products that resist grease; oil and water, and some firefighting foams.
The City of Lubbock issued a public health notice about the assessments on Monday and said during production and use, some of the chemicals got into soil, water and air. If the PFAS did not break down they stayed in the environment and eventually get into the blood of people and animals.
“In Lubbock, the assessment will look at possible PFAS exposure in the community near the former Reese AFB,” the City said in the health notice. “The exposure assessment will lead to a better understanding of environmental factors that affect PFAS exposure.”
In November of 2017, the United States Air Force sampled wells and community water systems and found 222 private wells and three public wells exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines. The Air Force later installed 181 whole-house treatment systems.
The Air Force said that came at a cost of about $12 million.
Last February it was announced Lubbock would be one of eight sites in the United States that would be evaluated by the CDC and ATSDR to look into any exposure of PFAS.
By June the Air Force said the water in the area was safe to drink.
More information on PFAS can be found on the ATSDR’s website here.