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OLF Coupeville

The Navy would like to sample drinking water wells near Outlying Landing Field (OLF) Coupeville at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island to test for certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS.

 

Property owners who drink water from a well on a property located within the sampling area may request sampling at either the open house, by calling 1-844-WHI-PFAS (1-844-944-7327) and leaving a message, or by sending an email to naswi.pfas@jacobs.com. Appointments are currently being scheduled between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. from February 2nd to 9th (additional times available upon request). If your drinking water is provided by a public water system, the Navy does not need to sample your drinking water.

 

Introduction
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of thousands of different chemicals which have been widely used in industrial and consumer products since the 1950s. PFAS are man-made and have been used in many household and industrial products because of their stain- and water-repellent properties. PFAS are now present virtually everywhere in the world. The Department of Defense (DoD), including the Navy, have developed proactive policies to address past releases of PFAS, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), at installations nationwide.

The most common activity that could have resulted in the historical release of PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS to the environment at Navy installations is the use of firefighting foam (specifically, aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF) for testing, training, firefighting, and other life-saving emergency responses, or associated disposal practices. Because of this historical use, PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS have been detected in the groundwater on base and in nearby drinking water wells that are located in the direction that the groundwater flows away from the base.

Once these compounds are released, many of them tend to stay in the environment for a very long time. Although the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started the process to establish regulatory levels for several PFAS in drinking water, there are currently no Safe Drinking Water Act regulatory standards. The EPA has developed drinking water health advisories for a small number of PFAS; these advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory. The advisories provide technical information to states and other public health officials on health effects, analytical methodologies, and treatment technologies. For now, the Navy is continuing to follow the policy it issued in June 2016 to conduct investigations at installations where there has been a known or suspected release of PFAS to the environment. The first priority with these investigations is to ensure that PFOA and PFOS concentrations in drinking water wells are not above 70 parts per trillion (ppt), individually or combined, as a result of Navy operations.

DoD, including the Navy, is moving toward complete removal of AFFF at its installations and transitioning to PFAS-free alternatives to AFFF. Until that transition is complete, the Navy will continue to use formulations that contain lower concentrations of PFOA and PFOS than many historical AFFF formulations and will continue to take steps to prevent or minimize additional release of firefighting foam to the environment.

On March 14, 2023, the EPA proposed a draft regulatory drinking water standard for certain PFAS, including PFOA and PFOS. In response, DoD has issued the following statement: "DoD respects and values the public comment process on this proposed nationwide drinking water rule and looks forward to the clarity that a final regulatory drinking water standard for PFAS will provide. In anticipation of the final standard that EPA expects to publish by the end of 2023, the DoD is assessing what actions DoD can take to be prepared to incorporate EPA’s final regulatory standard into our current cleanup process, such as reviewing our existing data and conducting additional sampling where necessary. In addition, DoD will incorporate nationwide PFAS cleanup guidance, issued by EPA and applicable to all owners and operators under the federal cleanup law, as to when to provide alternate water when PFAS are present." At this time, the Navy is authorized to use 70 ppt as an action level for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, whether individually or combined.

 

Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling near OLF Coupeville at NAS Whidbey Island (Figure 1)
PFOA and PFOS have been detected in groundwater at OLF Coupeville above 70 ppt. When a known or suspected release of PFAS is identified on a Navy installation and groundwater is used as drinking water, a sampling area is established 1 mile in the direction that groundwater flows away from a release area. The Navy offers sampling to all property owners whose property is within the sampling area and whose drinking water is supplied by groundwater.

Figure 1: Location Map of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island



At this time, the Navy is only asking to sample drinking water wells located in the sampling area (Figure 2) that have not been previously sampled by the Navy. Records indicate that some properties within the sampling area (Figure 2) are provided drinking water by public water systems. Property owners should contact their public water systems with any questions regarding treatment and testing of publicly provided drinking water. If your drinking water well was previously sampled by the Navy, if your drinking water well is part of the Navy’s twice-per-year PFAS drinking water sampling program, or if your drinking water is provided by a public water system, the Navy does not need to sample your drinking water at this time.

Actions Based on Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling Results
The preliminary results from the off-base drinking water sampling near OLF Coupeville are expected approximately 30 days after collecting the samples. We provide notification to the property owners (and tenants, if possible) of their drinking water results and any follow-up actions, if needed.

The Navy will provide bottled water for drinking and cooking to any property in the sampling area with a drinking water well that contains PFOA and/or PFOS above 70 ppt and does not have an alternate drinking water source available. The Navy will continue to provide bottled water until a long-term solution is implemented.


2016-2017 OLF Coupeville Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling
In September 2016, the Navy conducted on-base drinking water sampling at OLF Coupeville. PFOA was detected in one on-base drinking water well below 70 ppt near Building 2807. At the time, groundwater flow direction was not well understood and estimated to flow in all directions away from Building 2807. The initial sampling area was identified as 1-mile in all directions from Building 2807 (Figure 2). In November 2016, the Navy began sampling in the initial off-base sampling area.

In February 2017, the Navy expanded the off-base drinking water sampling to the south of OLF Coupeville based on detections of PFOA and/or PFOS above 70 ppt in the 2016 initial sampling area. Of the 118 off-base drinking water wells sampled, which includes private, community, and municipal supply wells, PFOA and/or PFOS were not detected in 105 wells. PFOA and/or PFOS were detected below 70 ppt in 4 drinking water wells, and PFOA and/or PFOS were detected above 70 ppt in 9 drinking water wells (Figure 2).

Table 1 provides a summary of the results of the previous sampling. Table 2 presents the results of PFOA and PFOS, individually and combined; results are listed from lowest to highest detection of PFOA and PFOS (combined). In 2020, the Navy connected several properties to the Town of Coupeville’s water system and added PFAS treatment to the Town of Coupeville’s water system. As of January 2024, the Navy continues progress towards connecting the remaining homes. To monitor drinking water in this area, the Navy has been sampling drinking water at certain properties twice per year since 2017. This includes properties with prior PFAS detections and those next to the properties with PFOA and/or PFOS above 70 ppt.


Figure 2: 2016-2023 OLF Coupeville Sampling Area Results Summary




 

Table 2: 2016-2023 OLF Coupeville Off-Base Drinking Water Well Sampling Results

 

Identification of PFAS Releases at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, OLF Coupeville
Across the country, the Navy has been conducting base-wide evaluations to identify potential PFAS releases. These evaluations are being conducted under the federal cleanup program which meets the requirements of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Following CERCLA, the Navy’s installation-wide assessments are called Preliminary Assessments/Site Inspections, and their purpose is to verify, validate, and update the inventory of PFAS release areas on the installation for further investigation and potential cleanup.

In 2018, a Preliminary Assessment (PA) was completed for Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, OLF Coupeville, which identified three areas where releases of PFAS may have occurred and a Site Inspection (SI) is warranted. The SI confirmed PFAS in soil and groundwater, thus the site has proceeded to the next step in the CERCLA process, the Remedial Investigation (RI). The purpose of an RI is to delineate the extent of PFAS and conduct human health and ecological risk assessments to determine if a remedial action is required. Final documents are under OLF Coupeville On-Base PFAS Investigation Documents. More information will be added to this website as it becomes available.


If you have any questions, please contact one of the Public Affairs Officers listed below.

MEDIA CONTACT
Mike Welding, NASWI Public Affairs Officer
Email: michael.welding@navy.mil 
Office: 360-257-2962
Mobile: 360-914-7915 
PUBLIC CONTACT
NAVFAC Northwest Public Affairs Office
Email: navfacnwpao@us.navy.mil
Phone: 360-340-5592
OLF Coupeville Drinking Water Sampling Documents

OLF Coupeville PFAS Fact Sheet
Phase 1 OLF Coupeville Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling Fact Sheet, November 2016
Phase 2 OLF Coupeville Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling Fact Sheet, February 2017
OLF Coupeville Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling Fact Sheet Update, May 2017
Ault Field and OLF Off-Base Drinking Water Results, Sept 2017
OLF Coupeville Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling Fact Sheet Update, January 2018
Ault Field and OLF Coupeville Phase 1 Drinking Water Sampling Poster, December 2016
Ault Field and OLF Coupeville Phase 2 Drinking Water Sampling Poster, February 2017
Ault Field and OLF Coupeville Phase 3 Drinking Water Sampling Poster, June 2017
Final Sampling and Analysis Plan Investigation of Perfluorinated Compounds in DW OLF, Jan 2017
Final Sampling and Analysis Plan Periodic Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling, OLF and Ault Field, October 2017
Final_Periodic_Off-Base_Drinking_Water_ PFAS_SAP_Addendum_OLF, AF, Area 6, Oct 2018
Final Sampling and Analysis Plan Periodic Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling, OLF, Ault Field, Area 6, April 2020
Ault Field and OLF Off-Base Drinking Water Results, March 2018
Ault Field, OLF, and Area 6 Drinking Water Re-Sampling Results, April 2019
Final Emergency Response Action Memorandum, Ault Field, OLF Coupeville, February 2017
Final Action Memorandum, Town of Coupeville – Navy Water System Improvements, Coupeville, July 2018
Final Action Memorandum, Point-of-Use Drinking Water Treatment, April 2018
NASWI PFAS Periodic Drinking Water Tech Memo, Dec 2020
NASWI PFAS Periodic Drinking Water Tech Memo, Dec 2021
NASWI PFAS Fall 2021 Drinking Water Tech Memo, Apr 2022
Coupeville Waterline Extension Fact Sheet, August 2022
Final Sampling and Analysis Plan Periodic Off-Base Drinking Water Sampling, OLF and Ault Field, October 2022

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