Selah, WA - The Yakima Training Center is asking to test the drinking quality of the water at 43 properties near the base. The army is testing to see if the water has been contaminated by perfluoroonoic acid (PFOA) or perflurooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).
PFOAS and PFOS are a combination of chemical compounds and they can be found in common household items, but LTC Luke Wittmer says they believe the exposure near the base is caused by aqueous film forming foam (AFFF). AFFF is used to suppress petroleum fires at airport or on military installations.
"It's that AFFF that was used historically at a fire training site that we suspect is one of the primary sources of releases here at the Yakima Training Center," Wittmer said.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency the amount of PFOS and PFOAS in drinking water shouldn't be more than 70 parts per trillion. These wells have been tested for these chemicals since 2014 and thirteen of them tested positive for the PFOAS below the acceptable level. The Selah Airstrip tested above the acceptable level at 103 parts per trillion and was turned off.
Now the army is looking at seven areas of potential interest. YTC will test the groundwater to see if any of the chemicals are present.
If you are in an area the army is interested in testing you will receive a letter in the mail within the next few days. You should expect the results by mail within 60-90 days after the test.
For more information about PFOAS and PFOS visit the army's website.