CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Letterkenny Army Depot is preparing to contact owners of properties adjacent to the Industrial Area to seek permission to test the quality of drinking water in wells. Specifically, the testing will look at perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) levels.

PFOA and PFOS are part of a group of chemicals known as PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Some PFAS may be linked to health issues such as liver damage and certain types of cancer.

The testing will determine whether past industrial operations have impacted well water near Letterkenny Army Depot. This comes shortly after a report from the Defense Department showed PFAS levels above health thresholds set by the Environmental Protection Agency in drinking water near multiple military bases in Pennsylvania, including one in Mechanicsburg.

PFAS are found in a type of firefighting foam, which has been used at Letterkenny during fire training exercises, according to a release from the Army depot. They were also used in industrial operations at Letterkenny, for example in metal plating. PFAS are found in everyday products like food packaging, cookware, and waterproofing chemicals, too, the release notes.

Letterkenny’s drinking water has been tested for PFOA and PFOS since 2016, the release says, and concentrations above the EPA’s health threshold were not detected in that testing.

Limited sampling conducted as part of a site inspection at the Army depot last year found locations related to past fire training did show concentrations of the chemicals above the EPA’s threshold in groundwater, though.

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“Although drinking water on Letterkenny does not have any PFAS detections, the depot wants to ensure past activities have not affected groundwater that could be used as drinking water near the Letterkenny Industrial Area,” the release says. “The inspection has led Letterkenny to seek to test off-post drinking water wells that could be affected due to Letterkenny operations.”

In the release, Col. Rick Allbritton said, “As commander of Letterkenny Army Depot, the commitment to safety is my top priority. As part of that commitment, addressing potential PFAS releases is paramount to ensure that no one is drinking water above the EPA’s lifetime health advisory levels due to Letterkenny Army Depot operations.”

Letterkenny Army Depot will contact potentially impacted well owners by mail to organize testing. Water samples are expected to be taken starting about a month after the depot receives responses from well owners.

“Contact from Letterkenny does not mean an individual’s well is impacted; only that the Army wants to test the water quality,” the release notes.

Well owners will be notified of their results individually, and the testing results will be shared with the EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.