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Island County > Public Health > Environmental Health > Hydrogeology > NAS Whidbey PFAS Investigation

​Naval Air Station Whidbey Island

PFAS Investigation

The Navy continues to investigate drinking water sources at Navy installations worldwide where perfluoroalkyl substances, aka PFAS are suspected - typically at locations with historic use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam, a highly effective, life-saving fire suppressant, which contained PFAS ingredients.

In Navy Region Northwest, this investigation includes testing drinking water surrounding the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island's Ault Field and the Outlying Landing Field at Coupeville to determine if drinking water is impacted from past releases of PFAS, which are classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, as unregulated or "emerging" contaminants and have no regulatory standards or routine water quality testing requirements. 

In May 2016, the EPA issued lifetime health advisory levels for two PFAS, specifically perfluorooctane sulfonate, PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA, at 70 parts per trillion, individually and combined.  While there are no EPA regulations for these compounds, the EPA established these lifetime health advisory levels to offer a margin of protection for all Americans throughout their life from potential adverse helath effects resulting from exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.

The testing will help the Navy determine if additional actions are needed to protect human health and the environment.

Helpful Resources

EPA:  Drinking Water Health Advisories for PFOA and PFOS

EPA:  Draft Interim Recommendations for Addressing Groundwater Contaminated with PFOA and PFOS

EPA:  PFAS Action Plan

US Navy:  Drinking Water Investigation for NAS Whidbey Island

WA DOE:  New study finds widespread PFAS contamination - but also signs of progress. 

WA DOE/DOH:  Interim PFAS Chemical Action Plan 

EPA:  Basic Information about Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)

ATSDR:  Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and your Health

ITRC:  PFAS Fact Sheets:  Lots of in-depth scientific information!

EPA:  Method 537 (pdf)  (This document includes sampling procedures for PFAS.) 

There are two laboratories in the State of Washington that are accredited to run Method 537:

Anatek Labs - Located in Spokane (509) 838-3999

ALS Environmental - Located in Kelso (360) 577-7222

National Science Foundation - Certified Water Filters That Reduce PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water