Andersen Air Force Base is a 20,000-acre facility situated in Yigo, Guam's northernmost city. Its principal objective, which it has carried out since 1940, is to support strategic air command operations in the Pacific. The facility continues to support regional strategic operations and acts as a staging point for actions in Asia and the South Pacific. In October 1992, the 20,000-acre facility was added to the National Priorities List (NPL) due to hazardous compounds related to base activities. Groundwater on and around the Andersen Air Force Base has been found to have levels of PFAS that are much above the legally mandated upper limits for safe human consumption.
In 1993, the Air Force, the US EPA, and the EPA of Guam signed a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA). This agreement establishes the legal structure and timetable for the Air Force to conduct restorative investigations and cleaning measures. The Air Force has drilled hundreds of monitoring wells several hundred feet below the aquifer's surface. The groundwater research is complete in terms of detecting contamination plumes, and monitoring of the pollutant plumes is underway. The majority of soil contamination issues at Andersen Air Force Base are the consequence of local industrial activities or materials being dumped in dispersed dumpsites. The remedy, chosen in 1998, is natural attenuation - a process through which pollutants are naturally converted to less hazardous forms or immobilized such that they pose less of a concern to the environment.
The Air Force and the EPA re-evaluated the remedy in 2014 and sought a waiver for technical impracticability after long-term monitoring revealed that toxins at the bottom of the aquifer, immediately above the saltwater zone, are not diminishing. Because cleaning the aquifer right above the saltwater interface would result in saltwater upwelling into the drinking water component of the aquifer, there is no feasible cure. Thus, the updated remedy includes institutional restrictions banning groundwater pumping in the deep plume region, long-term groundwater monitoring, and well-head treatment contingency.
One of the reasons PFAS compounds are so contentious is their classification as "forever chemicals". The chemical composition of PFAS substances, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, makes them highly resistant to degradation. Additionally, they are virtually impossible to eliminate from the human body or the environment. Humans may suffer major health repercussions if they ingest, absorb, or breathe high quantities of PFAS chemicals.
In addition to PFAS, other hazardous substances associated with Andersen Air Force Base operations, include:
A number of unlined landfills, drum storage, and disposal places, chemical storage areas, fire training areas, waste storage areas, as well industrial and flight line operations, were found to contain the compounds. The Air Force is the principal entity responsible for performing site investigations and cleanups, which are regulated by the U.S. EPA and the Guam EPA.
The Installation Restoration Program (IRP) and the Munitions Response Program (MRP) are both DoD-funded programs designed to detect, investigate, and restrict the movement of hazardous pollutants at military sites. Both programs include Andersen Air Force Base as a participant.
A growing body of scientific evidence has demonstrated PFAS toxicity and public health effects. According to some data, even low-level PFAS exposure might be harmful to people. PFAS has been found in human studies to have major impacts on the body's development while also raising the risk of cancer and other disorders.
The PFAS-related diseases and disorders for which you may file a compensation claim include:
PFAS exposure may have long-lasting effects on your health and well-being. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may need considerable medical attention and suffer severe and debilitating pain. If your health has been affected as a result of exposure to PFAS via the use of AFFF and you would like to learn more about your options, now is the time to act. If it is determined that you do have a viable claim, a skilled PFAS attorney will start the paperwork right away.
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