It will take years to understand the full scope of the problem PFAS chemicals have caused at and near military installations and decades longer to clean up the “forever chemicals,” Richard Kidd said Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Kidd is deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment and energy resilience.

“The rate of progress is defined primarily by the rules that govern our physical world. Physics, chemistry, science,” Richard Kidd said in prepared remarks. “Based on what we know today — and known technology ― frankly, it will be years before we fully define the scope of the problem and with that definition can reflect it in our budget request, and after that, probably decades before cleanup is complete.”

Kidd told a House appropriations subcommittee that the Pentagon’s PFAS task force is scheduled to complete its assessment in 2023 but that in the meantime, filtered drinking water on and near bases is safe.

“We are confident that no one is drinking water with PFOS or PFOA above [the Environmental Protection Agency’s] lifetime health advisory of 70 parts per trillion, where the Department of Defense is the known source.”

Air Force photo by Ty Greenlees