Forever Chemicals-New Hampshire

Water in two wells near Dover Air Force Base may have elevated levels of toxic "forever" chemicals that are linked to a host of health issues, according to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). 

DNREC said the water quality test results, by the United States Air Force, are preliminary at this time and still need to be validated, but showed levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) above the Environmental Protection Agency's lifetime health advisory of 70 parts per trillion. Validation of tests results could take up to 30 days, DNREC advised.

The owners of the two wells, which provide water to a single commercial business, have been notified and provided with bottled water by Dover Air Force Base.

The discovery brings the total of potentially tainted wells to six in the Dover area. In July of 2019, heightened levels of PFOS and PFOA chemicals were found in wells serving near the air base. The toxic chemicals are found in a variety of products, including firefighting foam previously used at the base. The chemicals are linked to serious medical problems, including cancer and birth defects. The United States Air Force continues to provide bottled water to properties serviced by those four wells.

Ten other wells tested for PFAS contamination had unvalidated results below federal health advisory levels, DNREC said.

No PFOS or PFOA have been detected in five nearby municipal water wells tested by Dover AFB’s water supplier, Tidewater Utilities. Tidewater sampled four on-base municipal supply wells and the off-base municipal supply well nearest the base. All draw water from a deep, confined aquifer, according to DNREC.  

Anyone with specific health concerns or questions about potential health impacts is encouraged to contact their primary care provider. General questions about the health effects from, and exposure to, PFAS can call the Delaware Division of Public Health at 302.744.4546.