Update on PFAS water testing in North Bay, Ontario
A statement has been released by the Department of National Defence (DND), with an update on the presence of per-and polyfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) near 22 Wing/Canadian Forces Bay (CFB) North Bay.
Used in a variety of industrial and consumer products, PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been found in water near 22 Wing/CFB North Bay. In the past, DND had used firefighting foams containing PFAS at this location. These firefighting training programs took place throughout the early 1970s – mid 1990s and were conducted according to the accepted regulations.
A third-party environmental consultant was hired in 2018 in order to identify the sources of PFAS at the base and the Jack Garland Airport. Several sources were identified. The study also found that previous use of the airport lands for firefighter training was the main source of PFAS on the airport property.
DND has said that they will continue to support the community in addressing the issue and that they are working with the City of North Bay to investigate whether federal funding is available to help remediate the land.
Since 2017, the City of North Bay has taken several actions in order to address the issue, including:
- Conducting over 20 drinking water quality and environmental investigations
- Testing over 1,000 samples from drinking water, surface water, sewers, groundwater, sediment and soil
- Sampling the drinking water of 97 homes near the base
- Immediately informing affected residents of two wells with PFAS levels above Health Canada’s recommended values
According to a statement, the Media Liason Office has assured, “We continue to work with the City of North Bay, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks on this issue, and will provide the community with regular updates.”
Ongoing tests for residential wells, the base, and the municipal water supplies are presenting results below Health Canada’s drinking water guidelines and screening values. In order to ensure that water remains safe, tests will continue, and the situation will be monitored over the next year.
Sampling is set to continue at nearby creeks and Trout Lake, and these bodies of water will be closely monitored as well.
The guidelines outlined by the Government of Canada are as follows:
- Providing affected residents with bottled water until their homes are connected to the municipal water supply
- Monitoring and resampling the drinking water of up to 49 homes quarterly
- Sending residents detailed reports on their quarterly water test results
- Providing regular updates to the community on our residential well testing, environmental monitoring, studies, and next steps
- Working closely with the local health unit, city, and province to assess and manage PFAS impacts in the area
- Investing over $2 million to date in PFAS testing and prevention activities in North Bay
Any North Bay residents with questions and inquiries about the water testing program can contact 22 Wing/CFB North Bay Public Affairs at 705-494-2011, ext. 2822 . Any health-related concerns can be directed to the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit at 705-474-1400 ext. 5260.