Congressional delegation sends letter over well contamination at DAFB

WASHINGTON — Members of the Delaware’s congressional delegation on Monday sent a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett requesting a site visit to Dover Air Force Base to address the per– and polyfluoroalkyl substances discovered in some private and commercial groundwater sources.

The substances, which can be harmful to humans, were found near the northwestern and eastern boundaries of the base.

The state said last month preliminary results show two wells by the base have possible elevated levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid. The substances were previously detected in four wells in July.

The Air Force continues to provide alternative water supply to those properties, and the state is working with the base and the owners of the affected wells to protect public health. The owners of the two wells, who each provide water to a single commercial business, have been given bottled water by the base.

The three members of the delegation previously requested Secretary of Defense Mark Esper visit the site.

“The two recent and additional discoveries of contaminated commercial wells near the airbase underscore the importance of a senior Air Force official visiting Dover AFB and publicly briefing the local community, Delaware state government, and the congressional delegation on the plans for PFAS mitigation surrounding the airbase,” Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester wrote.

“Such a briefing should include plans to provide permanent municipal water sources to the surrounding community, current or planned remediation efforts, and other efforts undertaken and proposed by the Department of Defense that may affect the Dover, Delaware community.”

The delegation asked for a response by March 27.