(WESTGATE) – NSA Crane is slated to host an open house, May 15, as part of a Navy-wide investigation looking at numerous installations that may have used items or processes that contain perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), specifically perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).
The open house is to take place at the WestGate Crane Academy Conference & Training Center, 13598 E. WestGate Drive, Odon, Indiana, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will feature Navy, federal, state, and county subject matter experts to answer the community’s questions.
Although the open house is open to the public, the primary audience for the event is those who have private drinking water wells in the greater Burns City area, approximately one mile west of the installation. With permission from homeowners in that area, the Navy would like to sample drinking water wells for the presence of PFAS.
“This is the initial stage of the investigation, which aims at determining if PFOA and PFOS exist above the health advisory level in drinking water wells in the greater Burns City area,” said Commander Timothy Powers, Commanding Officer, Naval Support Activity Crane. “The health of the surrounding community and our workforce is a top Navy priority.”
In May 2016, the EPA released lifetime health advisory levels for two PFAS, specifically PFOA and PFOS. Health advisory levels are not regulatory standards. The EPA’s health advisory level for lifetime exposure is 70 parts per trillion for PFOS and PFOA, combined or individually. PFAS are currently classified as emerging contaminants and are found nearly everywhere in the environment.
“The Navy PFAS policy on testing and response goes beyond any regulatory requirements,” said CDR Powers. “The Navy is taking a proactive approach to investigating areas where PFAS activities may have occurred, prioritizing installations throughout the country based on the likelihood of PFAS use.”
Although the Navy has used firefighting foam, a source of PFAS, at some locations, added CDR Powers, preliminary reports indicate few operational uses of PFAS containing substances have occurred at NSA Crane.
“We cannot accomplish this investigation without the help of the local community,” said CDR Powers.
PFAS are a class of man-made chemicals. PFAS have been used for many years to make products that resist heat, stains, grease, and water. For example, PFAS may be used to keep food from sticking to cookware, to make sofas and carpets resistant to stains, to make clothes and mattresses more waterproof, and in some food packaging, as well as in some firefighting foams. Commercial and consumer products containing PFAS were first introduced in the 1950s.