Top New Mexico officials are seeking the U.S. Air Force immediately begin defining the boundaries of groundwater contamination at Cannon and Holloman Air Force Bases, and to provide alternate water supplies to affected residents, the Associated Press has reported.
Last week Attorney General Hector Balderas and the New Mexico Environment Department filed for a preliminary injunction requiring regular groundwater and surface water sampling as contamination case proceeds.
New Mexico filed suit in April charging the federal government has responsibility to clean up toxic PFAS chemicals stemming from past firefighting activities, and also wants the service to offer voluntary blood tests to those who affected by the contamination. The suit also seeks additional documentation on the extent of the contamination around the bases.
“I am extremely frustrated that the Air Force has not been responsive to protecting the health and safety of New Mexican families by addressing years of environmental pollution,” Balderas said in a statement.
The PFAS contamination is linked to toxic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which for decades have been used in military firefighting foam.
The Air Force has not commented on the suit but has argued its PFAS remediation efforts in New Mexico and elsewhere have been aggressive. Officials have responded that they’re working with regulators to implement long-term solutions to prevent exposure, according to the report.
New Mexico environmental regulators in 2018 filed a violation notice to the Air Force for failing to properly address the contamination at Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis, N.M. They followed up earlier this year on Holloman AFB, saying the installation had violated its state permit and hadn’t properly responded to contamination concerns near Alamogordo, the report said.
Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Eboni Prince