George Air Force Base’s contaminated drinking water provided a Completed Exposure Pathway (CEP)
Supply wells → water → civilians, military personnel and their family members, and surrounding community
- Ingestion: Drinking water, cooking
- Dermal Contact: bathing, showering, swimming pool, occupational exposures
- Inhalation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs): showering, swamp coolers
The Department of Defense (DOD) and Air Force failed to notify the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) of this potential exposure pathway for the Health Assessment of George AFB.
George Air Force Base had about 14 Installation Restoration Program (IRP) sites (unpermitted dump-sites and unpermitted burn pits) within 500 feet to a mile upstream of the drinking water supply wells for George AFB, Adelanto, private homes, and the former Victor Valley Country Club.
Installation Restoration Program (IRP) site specific information for George AFB’s drinking water:
- George AFB’s Housing – Completed Exposure Pathway
- Southeast Disposal Area – Completed Exposure Pathways
- Industrial Waste – Completed Exposure Pathways
The AF acknowledges that these 14 IRP sites contain the following: the outflow from the sewage treatment plant, aviation gas, tetraethyl lead, VOCs, weapons’ residue, heavy metals; industrial, chemical, and/or radioactive waste.
The Air Force by its own admission has no record of all of the dump locations, or what or how much that it disposed at George AFB. See “Burial of Radioactive Waste in the USAF” – AF – 1972; Nuclear Regulation – “The Military Would Benefit From a Comprehensive Waste Disposal Program” – GAO – 1990; Environmental Cleanup – “Better Data Needed For Radioactively Contaminated Defense Sites” – GAO – 1994; “Lost Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Records” – EPA – 1996
The Air Force admits that it routinely withheld records and information about radioactive waste from regulators, contractors, and the public. See “Buried Radioactive Weapons Maintenance Waste” – Air Force Real Property Agency (AFRPA) – 8 May 2003
The Air Force failed to notify the Veterans Affairs or former base personnel of their exposure to potentially life threatening environmental contamination at George AFB. See Defense Infrastructure – “DOD Can Improve Its Response to Environmental Exposures on Military Installations” – GAO – May 2012
Completed exposure pathway:
A pathway of exposure is considered completed when all five elements are present. A completed pathway connects the source of the material to people.
- Exposure point
- Exposure route
Will exposure from a completed pathway affect my health?
Whether or not a person experiences health effects from exposure to materials in the environment depends on a combination of several site-specific factors including.
- Kind of material released
- Amount of material available at the exposure point
- Physical and chemical form of the material
- Environmental conditions
- Length of exposure time