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Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay Groundwater Undergoes Testing

Water faucet slowly drips. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Christopher Marasky)
Water faucet slowly drips. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Christopher Marasky)

ST. MARYS -- The military is checking for possible groundwater contamination at 664 different locations, including Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.

The tests will determine if chemicals from foam used to fight fires and for crash training have contaminated groundwater.

The foam is used during catastrophes such plane crashes because it can rapidly extinguish flames.

The foam contains perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOS and PFOA, both considered emerging contaminants by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

According to Navy Region Southeast officials, other test sites in the region being evaluated include Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport.

So far, all the locations tested have not detected problems with the drinking water.

The tests check all Navy public water systems producing drinking water from installation sources where perfluorinated compounds are known or suspected to have been released.

Scott Bassett, a public affairs officer at Kings Bay, said he doesn't believe groundwater contamination is an issue on base.

"There is no threat to the drinking water supply at Kings Bay," Bassett said. "Kings Bay has only been identified as an installation that the Navy is evaluating whether or not the need for further testing exists."

Bassett said the need for testing has not been determined but he doesn't believe groundwater contamination will be an issue on base because of the way training is conducted at Kings Bay.

"We only train with water," he said. "There is no threat to the drinking water at Kings Bay."

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