Air Force installing wells to investigate groundwater substances at former Reese AFB

U.S. Air Force discovers contaminates in the Ogallala Aquifer on the former Reese AFB (Source:...
U.S. Air Force discovers contaminates in the Ogallala Aquifer on the former Reese AFB (Source: KCBD)
Updated: Jul. 28, 2020 at 4:16 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Air Force Civil Engineer Center has announced they began investigative field work for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) discovered in contaminated water wells around the former Reese Air Force Base.

In January of 2018, the Air Force revealed they found 19 private drinking water wells and one public water well contaminated with perflourinated compounds. The Air Force identified the substances as coming from firefighting foam, aqueous film forming foam, used on the base since 1970 and from there, the compound seeped into the groundwater.

The Air Force reported in January 2019, spending at least $8 million responding to this contamination.

Over the next six weeks, engineers will install 25 monitoring wells in a 12 square mile area downgradient of the former base, according to the AFCEC.

Residents will likely see drilling rigs working near area roadways as these monitoring wells are installed.

The Air Force says they have sampled more than 500 drinking water wells for PFAS and installed 220 whole-house drinking water treatment systems on affected wells on and around the former base.

The AFCEC says the information gathered will help determine data requirements for additional monitoring, which will see the installation of more wells to expand the mapping of PFAS chemicals in groundwater, as well as collection of soil, sediment and surface water samples. Then the combined data will be consolidated in an Affected Property Assessment report (APAR).

“We have been working very hard with our regulatory agencies to identify and resolve any impacts we might have had here,” said BRAC program manager, Paul Carroll. “The installation of monitoring wells is a crucial step in the investigative process, which ensures nothing is missed and we can effectively move to the next step.”

The AFCEC says the investigations are part of the PFAS Affected Property Assessment investigation, required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Permit and Compliance Plan issued to the Air Force by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“This is the report we’ll submit to TCEQ and with further collaboration we’ll develop a solid plan to address the PFAS contamination here,” said Carroll. “We’ve been successful with previous remediation efforts at Reese, such as the cleanup of the threemile long Trichloroethene plume completed in 2017. And we’re going to continue working hard with the community and state regulators to make sure we’re successful again.”

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