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PFAS exposure at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown

Naval Weapons Station Yorktown is situated in an active military neighborhood and is responsible for explosives storage, as well as logistics, maintenance, and warfighter training. The local area supports more than 85,000 military members from many branches of service. The facility is located on the Virginia Peninsula in York and James City counties and Newport News, Virginia. The former Explosive Ordnance Burning and Disposal area (SWMU 2) and Burn Pad (Site 22) at the Naval Weapons Station in Yorktown have been identified as potential sources of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution by the US Navy.

Soil, sediment, groundwater, and surface water were polluted with dangerous substances by historical activities and disposal methods. In October 1992, this site was included in the Superfund program's National Priorities List (NPL).

When the Navy acquired the 20-square-mile property on August 7, 1918, it was the world's largest naval installation, established to assist the North Sea Mine Barrage during World War I. Throughout WWII, the Depot manufactured a variety of ordnance items, including undersea mines, depth charges, and torpedoes. Today, the station and its tenant commands provide the Atlantic Fleet with technical, logistical, and supply-related capabilities. This facility also serves as a training ground for Navy and Marine Corps troops.

The Burn Pad site at the Naval Weapons Station in Yorktown is a nine-acre area that was formerly home to a circular array of steel burning pads used to dispose of waste explosives and solvents generated during loading operations. Contamination of groundwater is most often a result of chemical spills from these waste processing and burning operations on the ground surface. This area was in use as a training ground, from the early 1940s until 1995.

What toxic agents are present at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown?

PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) are found at high levels in a firefighting foam called aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used by the military for training exercises and to extinguish liquid and gas fires, which has seeped into the local aquifer. The use of firefighting foam containing these hazardous chemical compounds may have severe health implications for military personnel and their families who worked and lived on a contaminated military installation.

Elevated levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) were also discovered at the Naval Weapons Station in 2012 when the Navy evacuated approximately 100 employees from multiple buildings. According to the EPA, two buildings remain closed and the third has been reopened after effective mitigation measures.

Other toxins associated with this military location, include:

  • polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons
  • aluminum
  • arsenic
  • polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • beryllium
  • cadmium
  • chromium
  • lead
  • manganese
  • mercury
  • toluene

Sources of contamination:

  • discharge to sewer/surface water
  • dumping
  • explosive disposal
  • incineration residuals handling
  • manufacturing process
  • storage – drums/containers of waste
  • waste tank

What diseases can you develop following toxic exposure at Yorktown Naval Weapons Station?

Used in firefighting foams to battle aircraft and ship fires, PFAS chemicals have been linked to adverse human health effects. The diseases and health problems that veterans and their family members can develop as a result of exposure to elevated PFAS concentrations, as well as the diagnoses that make them eligible to pursue financial compensation, include:

If you spent time at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, either as a member of the military or as a family member of one, it's a good idea to seek medical attention. We highly advise you to consult with several experts, since misdiagnosis is very frequent among victims of toxic exposure.

Reach out to our legal team if you received a diagnosis related to PFAS exposure

If you were stationed at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown and became ill as a consequence of exposure to PFAS, please contact our law firm today to see if you meet the preliminary criteria for filing a claim. After a thorough case review, if you qualify, you will be put in touch with a skilled PFAS attorney who will file a toxic exposure claim on your behalf.

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