Drinking Water Safe at Altus AFB

  • Published
  • 97 Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (for the Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health) recently released a report titled Addressing Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). In the report, Altus AFB is identified as exceeding Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for trace amounts of PFOS and PFOA. Two key facts specific to Altus AFB: First, the PFOS and PFOA contaminat...es are not, and have never been, introduced into drinking water. Second, there are no positive tests for PFOS PFOA contaminates in the military housing area.

Since 1943 Altus AFB (including military family housing) has pulled 100% of its water from off base sources due to the high salinity of soil on base.

The PFOS/PFOA contamination at Altus AFB is generally located between 30-35 feet below the surface of the ground and is primarily inside the flight line area and is within the base fence line.

The 97th Civil Engineer Squadron and 97th Medical Operations Squadron test the potability of base drinking water daily. Additionally, the potability of base drinking water is independently tested four times a year. All independent tests for potability are certified by the State of Oklahoma's Department of Environmental Quality.

PFOS/PFOA contamination occurred due to the chemical's use in Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), which aviation firefighters use to contain and extinguish dangerous high heat aircraft and jet fuel fires. The US Air Force is currently in the process of converting all old style AFFF to a new AFFF standard that does not use these contaminants. All Crash Fire Rescue Trucks at Altus AFB have been converted to the new AFFF type.

Please refer any questions regarding this topic to 97 AMW Public Affairs (97AMW.PA@us.af.mil) or (580) 481-7700.