“The U.S. Navy has reported finding high concentrations of toxic “forever chemicals” in groundwater beneath its Patuxent River air base in Southern Maryland and beneath a smaller airfield nearby on the St. Mary’s River. The Maryland Department of the Environment has been working to identify sites where PFAS may have been used or disposed of, to pinpoint any continuing releases of the chemicals into groundwater and to weigh the risks they may pose to human health. As part of that effort, the MDE did a pilot study last year testing water and oysters around the two naval airfields. It reported finding no PFAS in the shellfish and only “very low” levels in the water.
Environmentalists questioned the MDE’s interpretation, though, and later reported private lab results detecting high PFAS levels in an oyster, a crab and a fish sampled from Southern Maryland waters. A rockfish caught near the mouth of the Potomac River less than 10 miles downriver from Webster Field had a total of 23,000 parts per trillion, representing nine different PFAS compounds, according to the nonprofit group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.”