24 Bases with reported TCE water contamination
(Source: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)

Whiting Field Naval Air Station

Milton, FL

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Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field is a 2,560-acre installation devoted to training naval aviators. It is located in Santa Rosa County, in the northwest portion of the Florida panhandle, approximately 20 miles northeast of Pensacola and 8 miles north of Milton. Past handling and disposal of chemicals used at NAS Whiting Field, including solvents, paints, degreasers, oil, and fuels, resulted in releases to the environment, either due to accidental spills or leaks or to surface disposal or burial of these substances. Efforts to identify contamination at the installation began in 1985. Since then, 29 sites have been identified under the Department of Defense's Installation Restoration Program (IRP). An investigation of each has been completed, is underway, or is planned. An appropriate remedial alternative that is protective of human health will be selected for each IRP site. There are several plumes of trichloroethylene and its breakdown products, and of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (petroleum byproducts) within the installation. Contaminants are thought to be migrating off site in only one location, near the southeast corner of the installation.
In 1986, two of NAS Whiting Field's three water supply wells were closed because volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected in the wells at concentrations exceeding safe drinking water standards. Benzene concentrations exceeded the state drinking water standard in one well, and trichloroethylene concentrations exceeded the state and federal drinking water standards in the other. Each well reopened after a treatment system was installed to remove the contaminants. As a precautionary measure, a treatment system was also installed on the third water supply well. NAS Whiting Field was placed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities List on June 30, 1994, due to contamination detected at the installation, particularly groundwater contamination that had affected the on-site water supply.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) visited the site in 1994 and 1999 to collect information about how people on and off site might be exposed to environmental contamination and to obtain environmental sampling results. During its review of available information, ATSDR identified the ways that people might be exposed to environmental contamination. Since groundwater is the source of drinking water both on and off site, the most widespread potential pathway for exposure is through drinking contaminated groundwater. Recreational users of Clear Creek and its floodplain may also come into contact with contaminated surface water, sediment, and fish.
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