The Department of Defense (DoD) fully investigates a potential release and determines the appropriate cleanup actions based on risk. Through December 31, 2023, DoD has determined that 715 active military installations, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) locations, National Guard facilities, and Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) properties require an assessment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) use or potential release. DoD is performing Preliminary Assessments/Site Inspections (PA/SIs) at these installations, which is the first phase of the cleanup process and may take two to three years to complete. As of December 31, 2023, DoD has completed the PA/SI phase at 707 installations. The Department has determined that no further action is required at 133 of these installations, while 574 are proceeding to the next step in the CERCLA process. DoD will prioritize sites to move to the next phase in the cleanup process (i.e., Remedial Investigation (RI)) and determine appropriate cleanup actions based on risk. Status for the 715 installations where PFAS is being investigated can be found here.
DoD can also take interim actions at any phase during the CERCLA process. Interim cleanup actions can include removal of soil “hot spots” and installation of groundwater extraction systems. Locations of interim actions currently in progress or to be taken in 2024 are illustrated on this map or can be viewed on this list.
As DoD moves through the CERCLA process, the Department works in collaboration with regulatory agencies, communities, and facilities to ensure open and transparent information sharing.
PFAS in Groundwater
DoD addresses PFOS and PFOA in groundwater that is not consumed as drinking water under CERCLA (click here for an overview of the CERCLA process). Groundwater is underground water that resides within the cracks, crevices and spaces in soil, sand, and rock. Cleaning up groundwater is often technically complex and takes many years to complete. DoD tailors the actual sequence, timing, and scope of cleanup actions to site-specific conditions. Additionally, the Department prioritizes resources and addresses sites where risk to human health is the highest using the Relative Risk Site Evaluation (RRSE) framework. If at any time during the CERLCA process, DoD identifies a location where there is an imminent risk to human health, DoD performs an interim removal action. This removal action mitigates the risk to human health while still allowing the site to continue through each phase of the CERCLA process and identify any additional actions that may be needed to fully cleanup the site.
DoD Cleanup Actions to Address Off-Base Drinking Water
DoD conducts sampling of drinking water off-base to ensure it identifies potential impacts of PFAS resulting from DoD activities. When PFOS and PFOA are found above 70 parts per trillion (ppt) in drinking water resulting from DoD activities, the Department takes immediate action to address the drinking water exposure. DoD’s actions are consistent with the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommendations and include initiating short-term remedies (e.g., providing bottled water, point-of-use water filters) and long-term solutions (e.g., municipal connections, filtration systems). The Department's priority is to quickly reduce significantly elevated levels of PFOS and PFOA in drinking water so that no one – on or off base – is drinking water that is above 70ppt of PFOS and PFOA where DoD is the known source. To view final testing results for PFAS in off-base drinking water in areas in the United States located adjacent to and down gradient from a DoD military installation, FUDS, or National Guard facility, click here.