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Aerostar SES Leading the Way on Identification of Emerging Contaminants

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Aerostar SES is investigating a group of compounds that resist heat, water and oil. These synthetic compounds—known as PFAS—are used in hundreds of industrial and consumer products including non-stick cookware, food packaging, waterproof clothing, fabric stain protectors, lubricants, paints, and firefighting foams such as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). PFAS compounds are persistent, resist degradation, and accumulate in the environment and around organisms such as fish. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed health advisories for drinking water containing some of these substances, although most compounds remain unregulated by EPA.

For many decades, the Department of Defense (DoD) has purchased AFFF containing these unregulated substances for firefighting and training activities. AFFF use at military installations has included aircraft hangars, plane crash and fire emergency response sites, firefighting equipment testing areas, fire trucks, emergency vehicle wash racks, wastewater treatment plants, waste lagoons, and AFFF storage areas.

Since 2013, Aerostar SES has supported U.S. Air Force and Army PFAS programs to investigate potential AFFF release sites through seven projects—building on an initial project at 10 installations (40 AFFF areas) for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to a current investigation at 18 Air Force Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) installations (183 AFFF areas) for the Air Force Civil Engineer Center. We have collected more than 1,000 PFAS samples from 550 AFFF areas at 65 DoD installations nationwide. We have also participated in restoration advisory boards and other public meetings; worked with industry and academic leaders for technology exchange and research support; and established an in-house Emerging Contaminant Group dedicated to investigating/mitigating PFAS to maintain our position as a top PFAS service provider.

Seymour Johnson samples sediment and surface water.