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Report: Military Base Water Supplies Still Contain Rocket Fuel, Firefighting Foam
A federal watchdog has found most military bases have caught up on reporting about concerns of water contamination, but plenty of work remains to have more bases come into compliance and end future fears of water pollution.
The findings from the U.S. Government Accountability Office come in the wake of reports earlier this year that contamination was found in water in or at dozens of military bases.
The report found 77 military installations informed the Department of Defense of violations, while a remaining 16 bases had yet to reveal their compliance standings.
“One of the things that stood out most is generally the installations are pretty close to being in compliance,” said Brian Lepore, GAO’s director of defense capabilities and management.
However, concerns remain that polluted water in and around military bases could continue to be an issue, according to the report released on Oct. 18.
An estimated 3 million people in the United States receive drinking water from Defense Department public water systems, which must comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state health-based regulations. The report released Wednesday was ordered under the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which assigns funding and policy standards for the Defense Department.
The EPA and DOD have found elevated levels of contaminants in the drinking water at or near installations. The contaminants, perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, are found in firefighting foam used at Air Force and Navy installations.
Another water contaminant found in the water, perchlorate, is a chemical found in rocket fuel.
The military is working now to find alternate firefighting foam without PFOS and PFOA, but haven’t found one yet, Lepore said.
“The biggest thing left to do is to try to solve the question: Is it possible to develop firefighting foam that meets DOD performance standards and doesn’t contain PFOS or PFOA?” he said. “That’s the biggest, outstanding thing.”
Military installations where DOD has started to address elevated levels of two chemicals found in installation drinking water: Perflourooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), as of March 2017Map via DoD/EPA/GAO
The Department of Defense, for now, has initiated actions to address the concerns with its firefighting foam, restricting the use of the foam and funding new efforts to use foam without the contaminants, the report states. Also, the department has shut down wells, provided alternate water sources or installed water treatment systems at 11 military installations.
The report set out five recommendations for the DoD to improve its reporting and follow up on those findings when it comes to compliance with health regulations.
Among the recommendations, the agency said the department officials should coordinate to clarify their reporting requirements. Also, the report suggested the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force should boost understanding and command reporting requirements at its installations, which could be done through better communication and training.
Executing these recommendations, and better reporting requirements, should go a long way in addressing the concerns of polluted water at military bases, the report suggested.
The department “has not internally reported all data on compliance with health-based drinking water regulations or used available data to assess compliance,” the report said. “Until DOD takes steps to increase the clarity and understanding of its internal reporting requirements, it may not have the data it needs to fully oversee compliance.”
©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.