Navy testing water in Cutler

CUTLER — The Navy is seeking to sample private drinking water wells near the Naval Support Activity Cutler Fire Station. These free tests are to determine whether certain chemicals (commonly and collectively referred to as PFAS) used by the Navy in its activities at the station may have migrated through groundwater to wells at levels greater than U.S. Environmental Protection Agency health advisory levels.

Ordinarily, the Navy would host a public meeting to present information pertaining to this drinking water investigation and to address questions and concerns from the community. But due to COVID-19, the Navy and partnering agencies have instead prepared a virtual open house available at The public is also invited to visit the PFAS webpage at to read additional information about this private drinking water well sampling investigation. The information on both webpages was developed by the Navy in collaboration with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Region 1.

In May 2016, the U.S. EPA issued lifetime health advisory levels for two chemicals: perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The U.S. EPA health advisory level for lifetime exposure is 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOS and 70 ppt for PFOA.

When both PFOS and PFOA are found in drinking water, the combined concentrations should not exceed 70 ppt. Although these health advisory levels are not enforceable regulatory standards, the Navy is seeking to identify private drinking water wells that have been affected at levels greater than the lifetime health advisory levels.

PFOS and PFOA (two types of a class of chemicals collectively referred to as PFAS) are man-made chemicals persistent in the environment. PFAS has been used since the 1950s in products that resist heat, stains, grease and water. It has been used in a variety of products and substances such as non-stick cookware, food packaging such as microwaveable popcorn bags and water-resistant textiles and sprays used to treat carpets and fabrics. The most common historical Navy use of these chemicals has been through the firefighting agent, aqueous film-forming foam.

Questions may be referred to the Navy Public Affairs Office at 1-800-915-4705 or email at [email protected].

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