Cleanup of PFAS

DoD fully investigates a potential release and determines the appropriate cleanup actions based on risk. Through June 30, 2023, the Department of Defense (DoD) has determined that 714 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 June 30, 2023, DoD has completed the PA/SI phase at 466 installations. The Department has determined that no further action is required at 107 of these installations, while 359 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 714 installations where PFAS is being investigated can be found here.

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. Final testing results for PFAS in off-base drinking water in an area in the United States located adjacent to and down gradient from a DoD military installation, FUDS, or National Guard facility can be found here.

Where there was PFOS/PFOA in drinking water resulting from DoD activities above the 2016 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lifetime health advisories (HA) for drinking water, the Department immediately took action to address the drinking water exposure. This swift action is consistent with EPA’s recommendations and includes 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 EPA’s lifetime HAs where DoD is the known source.