In November 2017, the US Air Force reported to Congress that it had spent $790,700 investigating the presence of PFAS compounds on and around Cannon Air Force Base through December 31, 2016. At that time the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics’ report to Congress stated, “[t]he Department is committed to addressing the health risk associated with releases of PFOS and PFOA and ensuring safe drinking water for the people living and working on its installations and in the surrounding communities.”
Investigations were said to include site investigation work, such as preliminary assessments, site inspections, remedial investigations, and monitoring. Beyond establishing the presence of PFAS compounds on Cannon, the results, scope and detailed findings of that nearly $800,000 study have not been disclosed by the Air Force, although CWP-Cannon is working to collect these findings.
Whether as part of the foregoing or separately, the Air Force contracted with HydroGeoLogic, Inc. (HGL) in Reston, Virginia to conduct studies on Cannon Air Force Base’s PFAS contaminants in 2016, 2017 and 2018. HGL conducted its first and only site visit in October 2016. The following July, HGL structured a plan for dozens of tests to be taken in 2018.
The 2018 sampling again determined that PFAS was found in water, soil and sediment in a report published by HGL in August 2018. This led to the first public notice to the communities of Clovis and Portales in late August 2018. The tests focused on the four fire-fighting training areas used by the Air Force, three Hangars (109, 119, 133), to playas, the sewage lagoon and the Whispering Winds Golf Course. HGL and the Air Force did not test in the areas of the Cannon Air Force Base Fire Station where testing is to be undertaken.
In late 2018, Highland Dairy, located just to the East of Cannon determined that PFAS was present in its dairy water and resulted in the closure of the dairy. By October 2019, the contaminants had traveled a distance of 5.99 miles from the source and entered into wells managed by EPCOR for the City of Clovis. (EPCOR then stopped using water from these wells.)
CWP-Cannon lobbied the New Mexico legislature during the 2020 legislative session to create a “Cannon-Area PFAS Water Testing” fund managed by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). The effort was undertaken with the leadership of Sen. Stuart Ingle (R-Portales) and Sen. Pat Woods (R-Broadview), and we thank them for their leadership.
The lobbying effort resulted in a $100,000 line item in the FY 2021 budget (H.B. 2) being approved by the House, the Senate and the Governor enabling NMED to conduct water testing for the presence of PFAS in wells in Curry and Roosevelt Counties, in the proximity of Cannon Air Force Base.
We expect that the NMED will authorize at least 100 PFAS water quality tests each quarter beginning in July 2020 and the testing will continue for one year. NMED Secretary Jim Kenney has asked CWP-Cannon and the Rutten+Kern Policy Group to assist the State in gathering community well and private well information for the testing, communicating with land-owners and tracking the results of these tests.
If you are interested in having your well water tested, or your community well group is interested in having its well water tested, please contact us at (505) 316-4066 or email@example.com.
If you are interested in learning about whether municipal water supplies (either from EPCOR or the City of Portales) are being tested for PFAS, or whether the water is being treated, etc., please do not hesitate to contact us at the number above.