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Air Force to Test Water at South Dakota Base

A B-1, a B-2 and a B-52 fly in formation over Ellsworth Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Marc Feliz)
A B-1, a B-2 and a B-52 fly in formation over Ellsworth Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Marc Feliz)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. — The U.S. Air Force plans to test groundwater at its Ellsworth base after federal regulators warned training scenarios may have polluted it.

KOTA-TV reported Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency believes perfluorinated compounds in foam used in military firefighter training may have contaminated the water. Testing will begin in October.

Air Force officials believe the foam might have been used at 200 installations. Thirty bases have been tested so far with four showing drinking water sources with compound levels above the EPA limit. Those four bases are located in New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and Alaska.

The Air Force has limited the use of the foam to actual emergencies and is replacing it with a cleaner version.

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