CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) – The Air Force Civil Engineer Center released a recorded update on the ongoing efforts to address per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) identified at Cannon Air Force Base.

According to the 27th Special Operations Wing from Cannon AFB, that public update can be viewed here and marks the seventh of its kind since the Air Force Civil Engineer Center began releasing updates on the PFAS response. While the center expects to host December’s upcoming update virtually, Cannon AFB’s announcement noted that the center is “determining the most secure and effective way to reinstate live public updates.”

The toxic “forever” chemicals are man-made, found in aqueous film-forming firefighting foam previously used at the base to put out aircraft fires and for training. The AFCEC said PFAS chemicals have been found in groundwater samples at and around Cannon AFB and now, they are working to determine the best way to clean it up.

As the AFCEC continues its remedial investigation, they have begun installing groundwater monitoring wells to determine the extent of PFAS contamination in groundwater, including the aquifer.

Christipher Gierke, the remedial project manager at Cannon AFB for the AFCEC, said they will soon start a pilot study to install a small-scale water treatment system, which could help protect drinking water.

“It will help give us that information to eventually go into full-scale to ensure that we block that off-base migration,” Gierke said. “And so they’re stopping that flow of water and now we’re also going to look at the remedial investigation and how that determines how we clean up the off base impact to the groundwater.”

According to the AFCEC, the pilot study could also accelerate long-term actions to address PFAS contamination in water supplies near the base.

“It’s very important that we conduct all the data collection and determine how we properly clean it up because we are spending taxpayers’ dollars, and it’s very important that when you go out there to clean it up that you’re doing it in the most effective means possible,” he said. “Because if we just went out there and started digging holes in the ground and putting these injection wells anywhere, we may not actually be cleaning up the actual plume. And in fact, it could cause it to migrate in another a different area. So that’s where it’s very important to take and make sure that we have a good full picture of what that plume looks like. And then make a determination on what’s the most accurate and proper way to clean it up.”

Gierke said they are on track to start construction by December.

Members of the public, according to the release, can send questions and feedback to 27SOCES.cannon.rpm@us.af.mil. More information and informational slides, as well as the video archive for the quarterly meetings, can be found here.