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You can reach us at 785-239-3194.
Explore this web page to learn more about how the Army is addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at our installation. Environmental staff can answer your questions by phone during normal business hours.
Fort Riley Status - January 2022:
Fort Riley and the U.S. Army are investigating releases of certain per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS. These substances may be present in soil and/or groundwater at Army installations from PFAS-containing aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), which was used as a firefighting agent at airfields, beginning in the 1970s. PFAS is also found in many common household products, some of which may have been disposed of in Fort Riley landfills.
The Environmental Protection Agency issued a Lifetime Health Advisory setting a threshold concentration of two specific PFAS compounds at 70 parts per trillion (ppt), singly or combined. The specific compounds are Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).
A site inspection on Fort Riley in 2020 found nine locations where groundwater beneath Marshall Army Airfield had PFOA/PFOS concentrations above 70 ppt. This led the Army to test nearby off-post drinking water wells that could be affected by Army operations.
Fort Riley Environmental Division identified 23 drinking water wells to be sampled, all in Geary and Riley Counties. Three of the wells serve a public water supply. All other wells belong to private owners, serving single residences.
The results of the sampling were shared with the well owners and with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the EPA. Nineteen wells showed no traces of PFOA or PFOS. Three wells showed amounts above zero, but below the EPA health advisory threshold of 70 ppt. None of the public water supply wells showed traces of PFOA or PFOS.
One private well tested above the EPA guideline. The affected landowner and resident have been notified and the Army is providing the resident with bottled drinking water until a permanent solution can be devised.
The Army follows the federal environment cleanup law, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, known as CERCLA, to address PFAS. The next CERCLA phase, a Remedial Investigation, is scheduled to begin in 2022. The Army works closely with appropriate state and federal agencies to address PFAS concerns.
Fort Riley’s drinking water supply has been tested since 2013 and the highest concentrations of PFOA and PFOS combined were 11 ppt.
You can reach us at 785-239-3194.
Repeated testing of drinking water on Fort Riley since 2013 continues to show all drinking water supplied on the installation is well below EPA lifetime health advisory concentration (For example, 9 ppt and lower on Main Post compared to 70 ppt advisory.) Testing of Fort Riley water will continue into the future.
Most on post customers are served by American States Utility Services, who will provide a Consumer Confidence Report with detailed information about sampling efforts and any substances detected.
Neighbors who are served by an off-post water supplier can contact their water supplier for a copy of the Consumer Confidence Report, which provides detailed information about sampling efforts and any substances detected in water. Contact your local provider for more information.
For private wells surrounding the installation, see Q2.
Results of testing of private wells surrounding the installation that were believed to POTENTIALLY contain PFAS due to Army operations identified one well with a greater concentration than the level that the EPA has determined provides Americans, including the most sensitive population, with a margin of protection from a lifetime of exposure to the PFAS from drinking water. All other wells tested had either no detectable concentrations of the PFAS compounds for which the EPA has established a health advisory level or a concentration below that EPA-determined level. Users of the one well that exceeded the EPA-determined level are being provided bottled drinking water at no cost to the users.
The Army is committed to identifying, evaluating, and addressing impacts resulting from its activities to ensure the health and safety of the communities in which we serve. The Army is taking a proactive, measured approach to sampling off-base wells. During the site inspection phase and throughout the cleanup process, the Army will assess whether drinking water wells may be impacted by Army PFAS releases. If the CERCLA investigation indicates your well might be impacted, the Army could then request to sample the well. To date, the Army has sampled all of the drinking water wells off-post identified as potentially containing PFAS due to Army operations at greater concentration than the level which the EPA has determined provides Americans, including the most sensitive population, with a margin of protection from a lifetime of exposure to the PFAS from drinking water.
Because we don’t currently have any information to suggest that any private well not already sampled by the Army contains PFAS, or at what level, we can’t make a recommendation until we know more about the potential release of PFAS off post. For more information, talk to your local health department or physician or visit https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/drinking-water-health-advisories-pfoa-and-pfos
If validated results show that drinking water contains PFOS/PFOA above the EPA Lifetime Health Advisory Level (70 parts per trillion), the Army will provide an alternate water supply at no cost to the user until a long-term solution is implemented.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, some scientific studies suggest that certain PFAS may affect different systems in the body. ATSDR is working with various agencies to better understand how exposure to PFAS might affect people's health, especially how exposure to PFAS in water and food may be harmful. For more information, visit https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/PFAS-health-effects.html and https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/docs/pfas_fact_sheet.pdf.