Records show millions of gallons of water used from contaminated wells on joint base
JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST — Military records show that tens of millions of gallons of water from two contaminated wells on the joint base were used to supply drinking water to base workers and residents over the past decade, despite base officials stating that the wells were used only to back up the main well.
Despite repeated assurances from joint base officials that drinking wells found to be contaminated by PFOS and PFOA are "backup" wells, records provided by the base to this news organization show otherwise.
And the military’s own well pumping records show the wells contributed about 16 percent of the system’s drinking water from 2007 to 2016.
From May 2014 to April 2015, records show that the two contaminated wells supplied 25 million gallons to the Hill system, as the main well was undergoing maintenance.
That means about three-quarters of the water going into the Hill system was coming from those contaminated wells during that time.
When asked if it’s likely that base residents and workers served by the Hill system had consumed water from the shallow aquifers, Eagan wrote: "Probably.
The report concluded that the two main Lakehurst drinking water systems — the Hill and the Helo — "are subject to potential contamination" by the chemicals.
Robert Delaney, an environmental quality specialist with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, has been helping investigate contamination from perfluorinated chemical compounds like PFOS and PFOA around the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in that state.
Because the EPA’s limit is 70 ppt, and the contaminated wells were found to be about three times higher, at least 33 percent of the water had to come from the contaminated wells in a given month to reach the 70-ppt threshold, even after mixing the contaminated water with cleaner water.
This news organization has requested full pumping records for all wells drawing water from the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer and all wells on the base that have been tested for PFOS and PFOA.