An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

PFAS Overview

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of thousands of different chemicals which have been widely used in industrial and consumer products since the 1950s. PFAS have been used in many household and industrial products because of their stain- and water-repellent properties. PFAS are now present virtually everywhere in the world. The Navy and Department of Defense (DoD) have developed proactive policies to address past releases of PFAS, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), at installations nationwide.

The most common activity that could have resulted in the historical release of PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS to the environment at Navy installations is the use of firefighting foam (specifically, aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF) for testing, training, firefighting, and other life-saving emergency responses. Because of this historical use, there is potential for PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS to be in the groundwater and may be present in nearby drinking water wells that are located in the direction that the groundwater flows away from the at the former Naval Air Station (NAS) Memphis, a transferred parcel currently owned and operated by the City of Millington and the Millington Municipal Airport Authority.

Once these compounds are released, many of them tend to stay in the environment for a very long time. Although the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started the process to establish regulatory levels for several PFAS in drinking water, there are currently no Safe Drinking Water Act regulatory standards. The EPA has developed drinking water health advisories for a small number of PFAS; these advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory. The advisories provide technical information to states and other public health officials on health effects, analytical methodologies, and treatment technologies. For now, the Navy is continuing to follow the policy it issued in June 2016 to conduct investigations at installations where there has been a known or suspected release of PFAS to the environment. The first priority with these investigations is to ensure that PFOA and PFOS concentrations in drinking water wells are not above 70 parts per trillion (ppt), individually or combined, as a result of Navy operations.

On March 14, 2023, the EPA proposed a draft regulatory drinking water standard for certain PFAS, including PFOA and PFOS. In response, DoD has issued the following statement: "DoD respects and values the public comment process on this proposed nationwide drinking water rule and looks forward to the clarity that a final regulatory drinking water standard for PFAS will provide. In anticipation of the final standard that EPA expects to publish by the end of 2023, the DoD is assessing what actions DoD can take to be prepared to incorporate EPA’s final regulatory standard into our current cleanup process, such as reviewing our existing data and conducting additional sampling where necessary. In addition, DoD will incorporate nationwide PFAS cleanup guidance, issued by EPA and applicable to all owners and operators under the federal cleanup law, as to when to provide alternate water when PFAS are present."  As of March 2024 EPA has not finalized the standard.

For website questions email the webmaster
This is an Official US Navy Website.

Veteran's Crisis Line
Guidance-Card-Icon Dept-Exclusive-Card-Icon