MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A new report from federal agencies details the presence of substances in Martinsburg as well as efforts to mitigate the issue.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry studied the human impact of polyfluoroalkyl substances in Martinsburg and Berkeley County. Officials first detected PFAS in the Big Springs Well in February 2014, although levels did not exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s level at the time. The agencies said the substances came from firefighting foam used by the Air National Guard at the Shepherd Field Air National Guard Base.
The EPA issued a health advisory in 2016 related to two compounds: perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid. The change forced Martinsburg officials to shut off the city’s Big Springs Well and water plant until a treatment system could be installed. Water production shifted to the Kilmer Springs Water Plant until upgrades could be completed.
Martinsburg officials said the city did not provide the public with drinking water that violated the EPA’s standards.
The city has completed upgrades to the Big Springs Well. The U.S. Air Force reimbursed the city $4.9 million for the work.