Govt. funding deal requires Pentagon to report water contamination at bases

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The government-funding deal struck Sunday by Congress requires the Department of Defense to identify all the military bases where a long-used firefighting foam contaminated drinking water wells and to establish uniform clean-up procedures.


Under the resolution, the Pentagon must give Congress a list of affected sites within 120 days and include its plans for telling communities about the contamination and when it was detected. 

The provision amounts to the first federal mandate to the
Defense Department to deal with the potentially widespread contamination, and what is likely to be billions of dollars’ and years’ worth of cleanup. 


A review by the Inquirer and Daily News found last month that 395 military bases need to be tested for the chemicals, according to numbers from the Air Force, Army and Navy — about 90 more than originally listed by the Defense Department in March 2016.





The Pentagon has been working on creating a comprehensive list for more than a year, but each branch of the military has responded to the contamination separately.

Former bases in Willow Grove and Warminster have long been on the list of contaminated sites.  About 70,000 residents were affected in Bucks and Montgomery counties, where public water wells are currently undergoing remediation.

Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) secured the language that will compel the Pentagon to release its list, though Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R., Bucks) announced Monday that the requirement was part of the deal. The rest of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation has also been pushing for action.

“I am pleased that the spending deal includes the language I secured to require greater transparency from Department of Defense on the issue of water contamination in Bucks and Montgomery Counties,” Casey said. “I will continue to work diligently on this issue to ensure Bucks and Montgomery County families can have peace of mind and resolution.”






















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