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The Navy welcomes you to the Virtual Open House of the Former NAS South Weymouth Private Well Investigation.
The Navy is conducting a private well investigation in a designated sampling area near the Former Naval Air Station South Weymouth starting in November 2020. The chemicals the Navy is testing for are certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which may be present in private wells used for drinking water in the sampling area due to past Navy use of firefighting foam, specifically aqueous film forming foam.
In early November 2020, the Navy sent letters to owners of properties that may have a private well requesting permission to collect and test their well water. Ordinarily, a public Open House meeting would be held to explain the private water well investigation and provide general information about PFAS. However, due to COVID-19 and social distancing concerns, the Navy and our partnering agencies agree that holding a public meeting is not advisable. Instead, we have included on this webpage the posters and fact sheets on specific topics related to the investigation that would have been displayed at the public meeting.
The Navy is partnering with multiple agencies throughout this investigation, and these partners have helped us prepare the information presented on this webpage.
The information is organized in:
Scrolling to the bottom of the Virtual Open House webpage, you will find:
In closing, we want to thank you for taking the time to review the webpage information and encourage you to schedule a sampling appointment if you live within the designated sampling area and have a private water well used for drinking water. You are also encouraged to contact the Navy or any of our partnering agencies through the email addresses or phone numbers provided for the Points of Contact at any time during the investigation if you have questions or need additional information.
Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
PFAS are a large family of man-made chemicals which have been widely used in industrial and consumer products since the 1950s because of their unique water- and oil-repelling properties. They have been used in such products as carpeting, apparel, food packaging, and non-stick cookware to make them more stain-resistant, waterproof, and/or non-stick. Additionally, PFAS are key components in firefighting foam (specifically aqueous film forming foam or AFFF), which is used by fire departments across the country to fight fuel fires.
PFAS are very stable compounds, meaning they don’t break down easily and last a very long time in the environment. Once released to the environment, PFAS can move easily into and with groundwater. Exposure to PFAS in drinking water can occur if contaminated groundwater is used as a potable or drinking water source. Several PFAS are now of emerging health concern for the U.S. EPA and other environmental and public health agencies.
PFAS may be present in the soil and/or groundwater at Navy sites as a result of historical activities using firefighting foam, including responses to plane crashes, equipment testing, training, hangars where foam was used in the fire suppression system, and other operations such as plating shops where PFAS were used. The Department of Defense is currently studying fluorine-free firefighting foam alternatives to replace AFFF and prevent future PFAS release. In the interim, AFFF is no longer used in training on Navy installations and is limited to emergency response actions only.
A PFAS investigation has been underway for the former Bay Head Road Annex property since 2016. A former Burn Pad was identified as a PFAS release area because it was used historically for fire/ burn-testing operations involving use of AFFF in the fire suppression system. An additional release area was identified related to the former operations at the Burn Pad. The Evaporation Pond collected water that originated from the Former Burn Pad and released PFAS with water leaks which occurred through cracks in the concrete. Additionally, PFAS may have spread through regrading of PFAS-impacted soils during site redevelopment.
Protecting drinking water sources is the highest priority with the Navy’s PFAS policy. The potential impact to nearby drinking water wells was assessed early on in the former Bay Head Road Annex PFAS investigation. The former Bay Head Road Annex property and most neighboring properties receive their drinking water from the Anne Arundel County Public Water system which does not require sampling by the Navy as part of the PFAS investigation. The Arundel County public water is drawn from deep supply wells the closest of which is over a mile from the former Bay Head Road Annex property.
In 2016, the Navy conducted a drinking water investigation for private residential drinking water wells located in the shallow aquifer, in the direction that the groundwater flows near the former Bay Head Road Annex. PFAS were not detected in the private drinking water wells tested.
The November 2016 drinking water sampling was limited to shallow groundwater wells because information on the geology of the area underlying the former Bay Head Road Annex and surrounding communities, indicates the small number of private drinking water wells which are drilled into the deeper aquifer are not susceptible to contaminants originating at the land surface. The confining layers between the aquifers prevent water from moving from the surface into this deep water source. Therefore, for the few deep private drinking water wells in the area, permission to sample was not requested.
In addition to the early drinking water investigation, the Navy has conducted a robust environmental investigation for the former Bay Head Road Annex. Additional information on the investigation and findings is available on the Environmental page.
Exposure to PFAS appears to be global. Scientists are working to better understand how exposure to PFAS might affect people’s health. More research is needed to confirm or rule out possible links between exposure and health effects in people. Please visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) website and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) website for more information on potential health effects related to PFAS exposure.
Make the blue highlights links to the EPA PFAS website and the ATSDR website links also included below under “For More Information”
These health effects can be caused by many different factors other than PFAS exposure (e.g. genetics and lifestyle). At this time, it is not possible to link exposures to PFAS to a person’s individual health issues. Blood tests are available to measure these chemicals, but they are not routinely done because the results can be inconclusive and test results do not predict health effects.
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