A new U.S. Department of Defense policy appears to disregard safety recommendations drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency for how to handle firefighting chemical contamination in groundwater, drawing criticism from lawmakers and activists who are calling for strict regulation.

Specifically, a DOD memo distributed across military leadership in October sets a "screening level" for the chemicals that is 10 times higher than what the EPA recommended last spring. Such screening levels are used as thresholds to determine whether the military must further investigate and potentially clean a chemical contamination, or whether it can simply disregard it and take no further action.

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A plasma reactor is demonstrated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to degrade and destroy perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, better known as PFOS and PFOA, in sample groundwater on Sept. 25, 2019 (Clarkson University)

The Air Force just tested a cutting-edge water-cleaning technology that sounds like something straight out of a superhero origin story: a plasma reactor that doesn't remove chemical contaminants from the water supply, it totally destroys them, leaving the water safe to drink without generating toxic waste, the service says.

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On June 11th, the West Virginia National Guard practiced rescuing mock victims out of fast moving river winding through the rolling hills of Appalachia. The harrowing training involves nerves of steel by the skilled helo pilots, and in video captured by reddit user M109A6Guy, the UH-60 Blackhawk skirts just above the churning waters as one guardsman scoops his target to safety.

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Environmental Protection Agency

Months after reports of “rats rotting on a reservoir gate, a desiccated frog clinging to a reservoir ladder and another rodent carcass" in the drinking water at California’s Camp Pendleton scared the living bejesus out of Marines, Corps officials insist that the base's water supply is officially feces-free.

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