KMAN file photo/Brandon Peoples

Fort Riley says it is contacting properties owners near Marshall Army Airfield seeking permission to test drinking water quality in wells along those properties.

The wells may have been impacted due to operations at the Army installation.

Testing will look for concentrations of Perfluorooctanoic acid and Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid. They’re part of a larger group of chemical compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS. PFAS are used in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a critical firefighting agent used to quickly suppress petroleum fires at airports and military installations. AFFF has been used at Fort Riley. PFAS are also found in many everyday products, such as food packaging, cookware, carpet protectants and waterproofing chemicals.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a health advisory establishing a threshold concentration of PFOS and PFOA at 70 parts per trillion for drinking water. A site inspection at Fort Riley earlier this year found nine locations beneath the airfield with potential measurements above 70 ppt in groundwater samples.

Private firm Arcadis has contracted with the Army to collect samples from wells and conduct testing. Those results will be shared with the EPA and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Well owners will be notified of their results.

Fort Riley is contacting potentially affected well owners by mail. Off-post sampling is expected to begin within 30 days.

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