Letter: Environmental testing near 3 CDSB Edmonton

During routine environmental monitoring work, poly- and perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) were found in soil, groundwater, and surface water at 3 Canadian Division Support Base (3 CDSB) Edmonton, as well as in nearby wetlands. PFAS are man-made chemicals that are used in a variety of consumer and industrial products, including firefighting foams.

Currently, there is no evidence that PFAS are present in residential wells beyond the base property. As a precaution, we will be working with nearby property owners to determine whether they rely on private well water, how it is used, and if testing for PFAS is required. If required, testing will begin in February 2020, and results will inform our next steps. All tests will be carried out by an independent environmental consultant, and the results analyzed at accredited laboratories. We will also continue to test and analyze results from the base and nearby private wells, if required, to better understand the sources and impacts of PFAS in the area.

As a good neighbour, we are committed to managing the effects of our operational legacy responsibly, and doing our part to safeguard the health of Canadians. We are working with the Province of Alberta, and all test results will be shared with Alberta Health Services, Alberta Environment and Parks and affected property owners as soon as they are available. We will continue to keep the community informed about this issue and our work to address it. To protect the privacy of residents, the area identified for the water survey will remain confidential.

Residents with questions about our testing program can contact the 3 CDSB public affairs office at 780-973-4011 ext. 8018. Questions about water quality can be directed to Alberta Health Services Environmental Public Health at 780-342-1380. Anyone with general health questions can contact Health Link 24/7 by calling 811.

The presence of PFAS on 3 CDSB Edmonton property is thought to be related to the past use of firefighting foams for training. These activities were conducted according to the accepted practices and regulations of the time. While water is now used for training, firefighting foams containing PFAS are still used for emergencies as they are currently the safest and most effective way to extinguish fuel fires. If used, we try to contain the foams and minimize their impacts on the environment as much as possible.

– National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

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