DAYTON, Ohio — A southwest Ohio military base that will test a nearby river for compounds that authorities suspect contaminated some base wells has lifted a three-month-old drinking water advisory issued for pregnant and lactating women and infants.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton had issued the advisory out of concern that the women and infants could be exposed to groundwater contamination after federal environmental authorities lowered the lifetime exposure threshold of the two compounds. The chemicals — perfluorooctanesulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid — are found in a firefighting foam that had been used for decades in training exercises and to fight fire. Federal officials say they could have adverse effects on fetuses and bottled-fed infants.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency ordered two drinking water wells on the base closed in May because of contamination concerns, and Wright-Patterson issued the advisory and started distributing bottled water to the at-risk population. The Dayton Daily News reports base officials now say water sample tests have consistently shown the levels of the compounds fall below the federal threshold and the drinking water is safe to drink.
Wright-Patterson lifted the advisory on Aug. 11 and stopped distributing bottled water to the at-risk population, base spokeswoman Marie Vanover said.
Lifting the advisory follows an agreement between the base and state environmental regulators to test the Mad River for the suspected compounds. Wright-Patterson also plans to install dozens of additional groundwater monitoring wells.
"We will steadfastly continue monitoring our wells to ensure we protect our environment and keep our drinking water safe," Col. Bradley McDonald, installation commander, said in a statement.
The state Environmental Protection Agency didn't object to lifting the advisory. But the agency said in an email to base officials that it's imperative to continue water testing to determine whether there is "any threat posed" to Wright-Patterson's public water system.