Kingsley Field responds to reports of contamination on base

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Compounds identified as possible carcinogens have been found in wells used for testing at Kingsley Field.

Major Nikki Jackson says a report on the contamination at Kingsley Field was released about a year ago.  “There were eight sites that were found to be possible release locations, and all of those tested higher than the 70 nanograms per liter as part of the EPA health survey.”

The studies focus on the use of perfluorooctane sulfonate, and perfluorooctanic acid, which are compounds commonly used in putting out petroleum fires.

Jackson says similar compounds are also used in products not related to fire fighting.  “Products that we use every day like Teflon, and Gortex, stain-resistant type products.”

Major Jackson says the Center for Disease Control, and the Agency for Toxic Substances have run tests on the chemicals.  “Some, but not all of those tests have shown that there is a likelihood of an increase of cancer.”

Drinking water at the base comes from city wells, which were tested in 2014 and found free of contamination.

“The EPA has concerns with the drinking water.”  Jackson notes.  “Of course, additional testing needs to be done.  Additional testing needs to be done here on base, and is going to be conducted as part of a remedial investigation.”

A Kingsley working group composed of city, county, and private entities was formed in August to study the issue further.

“Part of the next process will be to try to determine if those contaminants have spread outside of the areas that we tested.”

Jackson says the chemicals have been widely used by the fire fighting industry, and at all commercial airports since 1970.

The U.S. Air Force began using a different formula in 2016.

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