PFAS Testing - Former Military Base, Northern Virginia

Emery & Garrett Groundwater Investigations (EGGI), A Division of GZA, has provided groundwater consulting services to a former Military base in Northern Virginia for 15 years as part of a redevelopment of a military base into a mixed use development.  This former Military Base is exclusively reliant upon groundwater resources to meet the development’s potable water supply needs.  Their current and anticipated future water supply needs are met with a combination of existing wells, that served the military base, and with new production water supply wells that have been developed and permitted by EGGI over the past ten years.

CHALLENGE

Given the previous land use as a military base, the current owner/operator of the water system took a proactive position to test all of the existing and proposed Production Wells for PFAS compounds.  PFAS was detected in a proposed Production Well above the combined PFOS/PFOA EPA Advisory Level of 70 ng/L for these compounds.  Fortunately, this well was not on-line serving customers yet; however, it was scheduled to begin production in the next two years.  The detection of PFAS  has presented the Utility with two separate challenges; a) to determine the potential sources of PFAS contamination and; b)  to attempt to find a replacement water supply well and/or evaluate water treatment options.

SOLUTION

EGGI and the current owners of the Water Utility  have advised the US Army of the presence of PFAS compounds found at the site and as a result the Army has become actively engaged in the conversation regarding this detection and is working toward a plan to address this contamination.  EGGI is conducting a groundwater exploration program on a portion of the property, away from the suspected PFAS contaminated areas, in an attempt to develop replacement or supplemental water supply well(s).  Simultaneously with the groundwater exploration program, EGGI and GZA are preparing to initiate an initial site investigation into the possible source of PFAS contamination, which is a suspected Fire Fighter Training pit (where is it believed AFFF foam was utilized to extinguish training fires).  The findings of this study will be utilized to facilitate an action plan with the Army regarding further detection, remediation,  and financial reimbursement to the Water Utility for all  of the costs expended to  mitigate and manage this contamination site.  Ultimately water treatment may be necessary; however, at this time none of the active production wells have PFAS compounds present above the EPA Advisory Level.

BENEFITS

EGGI’s previous experience with PFAS contamination and Public groundwater supplies have helped this Utility to be proactive in addressing these issues and to be on the forefront in addressing the presence of PFAS detected in the groundwater resources at this site. This is key to preventing these contaminates from further adversely impacting the local groundwater supply. EGGI’s extensive experience with groundwater exploration while acting as a liaison between a Utility and responsible parties for PFAS contamination has provided this Utility with important scientific knowledge and technical tools needed to work with the Army regarding this emerging contaminant discovery.