2020 Drinking Water Consumer Confidence Report for NAS Patuxent River

Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NASPR) is pleased to present this year’s Annual Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report) as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). This report is designed to provide details about where your water comes from, what it contains, and how it compares to standards set by regulatory agencies. This report is a snapshot of last year’s water quality. We are committed to providing you with information because informed customers are our best allies. Last year, as in years past, your tap water met all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state drinking water health standards. The Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NASPR) vigilantly safeguards its water supplies and once again we are proud to report that our system has not violated a maximum contaminant level (MCL) or any other water quality standard.

Where does my water come from?

The NASPR water that is being delivered to you is pumped from the Piney Point-Nanjemoy, Patapsco, and Aquia Aquifers, which are groundwater sources in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. The recharge zone for these aquifers is a broad area approximately 25-75 miles north and northeast from our source. Your water is treated by chlorination, accomplished by injecting chlorine into the water supply. Chlorine kills bacteria and other microbes and prevents the spread of waterborne diseases. The water is chlorinated to ensure it is delivered safely to your building or residence.

Source water

Maryland Department of the Environment’s Water Supply Program has conducted a Source Water Assessment (SWA) for NASPR. The susceptibility analysis of this report is based on a review of the existing water quality data for each water system, the presence of potential sources of contamination in the individual assessment areas, well integrity, and aquifer characteristics. It was determined that the NASPR water supply is not susceptible to contaminants originating at the land surface due to the protected nature of the confined aquifers. The wells pumping from the Aquia aquifer are susceptible to naturally occurring arsenic. The susceptibility of the water to radon-222, a naturally occurring element, will depend on the final MCL that is adopted for this contaminant. Due to security risks, distribution and access to the SWA is restricted. For further information, you may contact the MDE Water Supply Program at (410) 537-3702.

Why are there contaminants in my

drinking water?

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791. The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.

Microbial contaminants: such as viruses and bacteria, that may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.

Inorganic contaminants: such as salts and metals, which can be naturally occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial, or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, or farming.

Pesticides and herbicides: which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.

Organic chemical contaminants: including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are byproducts of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems.

Radioactive contaminants: which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities.

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the EPA prescribes regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water which must provide the same protection for public health.

Important health information

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. The EPA and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Water Drinking Hotline (800-426-4791).

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. NASPR is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.

While your drinking water meets EPA standards for arsenic, it does contain low levels of arsenic. EPA’s standard balances the current understanding of arsenic’s possible health effects against the costs of removing arsenic from drinking water. EPA continues to research the health effects of low levels of arsenic, which is a mineral known to cause cancer in humans at high concentrations and is linked to other health effects such as skin damage and circulatory problems.

Has NASPR tested its water for PFAS?

Yes. In December 2020 drinking water samples were collected from NASPR. Results were below Limit of Detection (LOD). We are pleased to report that drinking water testing results were below the MRL for all 18 PFAS compounds covered by the sampling method, including PFOA and PFOS. This means that PFAS were not detected in your water system. In accordance with DoD policy, the water system will be resampled every three years for your continued protection. https://www.cnic.navy.mil/om/base_support/environmental/water_quality/Testing_for_Perfluorochemic als.html.

What are per- and

polyfluoroalkyl substances

and where do they come from?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of thousands of man-made chemicals. PFAS have been used in a variety of industries and consumer products around the globe, including in the United States, since the 1940s. PFAS have been used to make coatings and products that are used as oil and water repellents for carpets, clothing, paper packaging for food, and cookware. They are also contained in some foams (aqueous film-forming foam or AFFF) used for fighting petroleum fires at airfields and in industrial fire suppression processes because they rapidly extinguish fires, saving lives and protecting property. PFAS chemicals are persistent in the environment and some are persistent in the human body – meaning they do not break down and they can accumulate over time.

Is there a regulation for PFAS in

drinking water?

There is currently no established federal water quality regulation for PFAS compounds. In May 2016, the EPA established a health advisory (HA) level at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for individual or combined concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). Both chemicals are types of PFAS. Out of an abundance of caution for your safety, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) PFAS testing and response actions go beyond the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. In 2020 the DoD promulgated a policy to monitor drinking water for PFAS at all service owned and operated water systems at a minimum of every three years. The EPA’s health advisory states that if water sampling results confirm that drinking water contains PFOA and PFOS at individual or combined concentrations greater than 70 ppt, water systems should quickly undertake additional sampling to assess the level, scope, and localized source of contamination to inform next steps

How can I get involved?

The NASPR works diligently to provide top quality drinking water to every tap. As residents, employees, and caretakers here, please help us protect our water sources. We welcome your suggestions to help maintain our high quality level of drinking water as well as to conserve water throughout the Station.

If you have questions or concerns please call or email Lance McDaniel at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Public Works Department, Environmental Division at 301-757-2903, or lance.mcdaniel@navy.mil.

View the complete report