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Airforce Works to Determine Extent of PFAS Contamination at Loring

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 1:09 PM EDT
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LIMESTONE, Maine (WAGM) -

The Department of the Air Force updated the public on environmental restoration activities at the former Air Force Base. NewsSource 8′s Brian Bouchard was at the meeting in Limestone and has the story.

From the 1970s up until the base closed in the early 90s, Loring Airforce Base used what is known as Aqueous Film Forming Foam or AFFF to suppress fires on the installation, in both real world and training exercises. In 2002 it was discovered that the foam actually contained forever chemicals defined as Per or Polyfluoroalkyl substances and are hazardous to people and the environment.

“They did find in the soil, in the ground water associated with that site, concentrations of PFAS. In those areas they found that the fish had PFAS and that there was PFAS in the water, the surface water and in the sediment.” - Peter Baker – Project Manager, Wood Environment & Infrastructure

Since discovering the harmful effects of PFAS, the Airforce has been working to assess and cleanup any environmental damage that has been done. Multiple studies have been conducted on Loring since 2013 to determine IF PFAS was there, now a new study is being conducted to determine how much contamination exists. The Airforce has brought in Wood Environment & Infrastructure to conduct the assessment.

“So now that we know, we’ve confirmed that it’s in these source areas. Now our task is to really go figure out how much is there, the boundaries of it in soil, how much is in ground water, how far down gradient and side gradient does the ground water plume extend that has PFAS in it, how far down stream in Limestone Stream, Butterfield brook, little Madawaska river does the PFAS go, and what’s in the fish in those drainage basins and those drainage features?” says Baker.

The Airforce is now asking for the publics help, asking for information regarding use bodies of water or waterways on Loring recreationally.

“There could be various different workers on site, there are residents living on site, there are streams, there are potentially people swimming or wading in those streams, so part of our process is to reach out to the community and ask for information, if anyone is using those areas recreationally, we would like information about it.” - Amy Quintin – Risk Assessor, Wood Environment & Infrastructure

Due to the unknown scope of contamination, Representatives from Wood Environment & Infrastructure, as well as the Department of the Airforce were unable to provide an accurate timeline of when removal of PFAS would begin, though it was stated it may be several years.

If you have any information or concerns regarding PFAS at the Former Loring Airforce Base, you are encouraged to contact the following organizations.

Wood Environment & Infrastructure

E-Mail: Loring.RI@woodplc.com

Department of the Airforce - Acting BRAC Program Manager, Val de la Fuente

E-Mail: val.delafuente.1@us.af.mil

Phone: (210) 347-0078

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