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PFAS soil investigation former Air Force Base Soesterberg

Investigating a potential PFAS soil contamination of a former firefighting training area

  • Soesterberg, The Netherlands

    Soesterberg, The Netherlands

Helping the province of Utrecht ensure a safe and healthy living environment

The province of Utrecht works together with partners such as drinking water companies, water boards and municipalities, to ensure a healthy living environment in its region. As part of this process, the province commissions soil investigations and remediations to bring soil and groundwater quality in line with its use. As a trusted advisor to the province, Stantec was asked to conduct historical surveys for a large number of locations in the vicinity of drinking water extraction areas, including a location at former Air Force Base Soesterberg. As the owner, the province is responsible for the development of nature and housing at this location.

The site in the former Camp New Amsterdam of the U.S. Air Force, was used for the deployment and testing of Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE) and, to a limited extent, to conduct firefighting exercises. 

The historical investigation revealed that because of these firefighting exercises, the soil and groundwater at the location is suspicious for the presence of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are new emerging contaminants. The substances were used as an application in firefighting foams. Stantec was asked to carry out the soil investigation to determine whether there are any ecological risks and potential threats to drinking water extraction.

The Dutch Stantec team performed 24 manual soil drillings at the former training site. Prior to drilling the site was checked for unexploded ordnance. In total, 32 soil samples and 2 groundwater samples were analyzed for PFAS.

The investigation showed that the site is subject to soil contamination with PFAS of limited magnitude. The PFAS contamination is present above the risk limits for ecology, without risks for migration to the groundwater and drinking water. Given the relatively small area of uncovered soil where the PFAS contamination was detected, the ecological risks to the nature reserve of Park Air Base Soesterberg is expected to be limited.

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Municipality of Utrecht, the Netherlands
Image Credit
marco.broekman and OKRA
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