Published: October 30, 2019

    Threat of PFAS Contamination Lurks in Jacksonville, FL Wells

    The U.S. Navy has sounded the alarm on water contaminants that potentially seeped into private drinking water wells near Jacksonville, Florida. The Navy intends to test local wells for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) after it believes the chemicals seeped into the ground around Naval Station Mayport and Outlying Landing Field Whitehouse.

    Naval officials will begin collecting water samples from private wells around OLF Whitehouse near Halsema and Old Plank roads and around the naval base near Wonderwood Drive and Mayport Road. Specifically, the Navy will be testing for two primary PFAS — perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

    How Did Chemicals Get Into Private Wells?

    PFAS contamination near military and industrial sites is far from an isolated incident. In fact, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has compiled an interactive map of PFAS contamination across the United States. PFAS are used to manufacture products that have non-stick capabilities, including pans, water-resistant jackets, and firefighting foam.

    Firefighting foam is used in a variety of military training exercises, and the use of this substance on military sites often leads to contamination of nearby public drinking water sources. Firefighting foam is what the Navy suspects may have caused the contamination from Naval Station Mayport. Once the foam is used, it washes away as runoff and can get into the local soil and waterways.

    In fact, just last month, the Navy tested private wells near Naval Air Station Jacksonville for the exact same reason. Residents of any home near an industrial site or military base should brush up on the basic facts about PFAS, as it has been detected across the country. The states with the most PFAS contamination sites are Michigan, California, and New Jersey.

    PFAS Health Effects

    PFAS cause serious health issues. As more research is conducted, the chemicals seem more dangerous than previously understood. Thousands can be classified as PFAS, but the two that are most commonly found and most frequently studied are PFOS and PFOA. PFAS are designed to repel water and oil and are difficult to break down chemically. This property enables PFAS to accumulate over time in fish, animals, and humans, worsening the problems they cause.

    PFAS have been linked to all of the following health problems:

    • Increased risk of developing diabetes and high cholesterol
    • Hormonal imbalances that can cause infertility
    • Thyroid, pancreas, and liver issues
    • Behavioral and developmental impairments in infants and young children
    • Increased risk of developing cancer, including testicular and kidney cancer

    How to Protect Your Drinking Water From PFAS Contamination

    The Navy continues to conduct water testing in the area to determine the extent of the contamination. If PFOS or PFOA is detected in a private well, the Navy has promised to provide bottled drinking and cooking water until a long-term solution is implemented. However, you don’t want to contribute to plastic bottle waste and go through such an inconvenience with no end in sight.

    Homeowners that are worried about these chemicals can take a few basic steps to prevent future PFAS contamination, especially since there are at-home water tests available. Most experts recommend a combination of carbon filtration where water comes into your home in addition to reverse osmosis filtration at your kitchen sink to further reduce contaminants. This setup can be accomplished by combining our Whole House Water Filter System with our 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis System.

    Pelican Water stands out from the competition because we offer two low-cost water filters that are certified to reduce the concentration of PFOA and PFOS in your drinking water by 98%. These two PFAS are the most common and responsible for most of the health effects currently known.

    The countertop and under sink systems filter PFOS, PFOA, lead, cysts, mercury, chlorine, and other contaminants for around $100 or less. If you live in Jacksonville or another area affected by PFAS, now is the time to invest in one of these affordable solutions to boost your water quality.