Fairchild AFB Firefighting Foam and Contaminated Water Class Action

This Washington State class action is similar to another filed on the opposite side of the country, in Suffolk County, New York, Both concern contamination from a firefighting training site and cite some of the same defendants. The complaint for this class action alleges that chemicals from firefighting foam have contaminated the surface and ground water for nearby communities.

The US Air Force has held firefighting training exercises on Fairchild Air Force Base (Fairchild AFB), about twelve miles from Spokane, Washington, since the 1970s. During the training, it has used Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) as well as other materials that contain perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and other fluorochemicals that can degrade to PFOS or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). 

According to the complaint, “AFFF has been linked to the contamination of surface and groundwater with PFOA, PFOS and other perfluorinated chemicals (“PFC’s”) throughout the country.”

Near Fairchild AFB are two communities, Airway Heights and Medical Lake, that have found contamination in their water supplies that they attribute to the use of AFFF at Fairchild AFB. The complaint says that PFOS and PFOA from the firefighting exercises at the base have contaminated the wells and municipal water supplies. 

According to the complaint, information from HydroGeoLogic, Inc., CH2M Hill, the US Air Force, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, Amec, Foster Wheeler, and the Washington State Department of Ecology have confirmed the contamination of the water resources for the communities. 

The complaint holds responsible a number of defendants—3M Company, Tyco Fire Products, LP, Buckeye Fire Equipment Company, Chemguard, Inc., and National Foam, Inc.—alleging that the companies knew that, as makers and distributors of AFFF, they knew that the materials were hazardous. 

It claims they knew that PFOS and PFOA were “highly soluble and mobile in water and likely to contaminate water supplies and other sensitive receptors, were persistent in the environment, and would bio-accumulate in humans causing serious health effects.”

Health effects from PFOS and PFOA, the complaint says, include kidney and testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. 

The complaint claims that some of the residents of the communities have already experienced bio-accumulation of the substances and health effects related to them. Also, the complaint claims that the contamination lowers the value of the property in the communities. 

Two classes have been defined for this action.

  • The Medical Monitoring Class is individuals who consumed water from the municipal supplier, smaller water systems, or wells in the areas of investigation. The two subclasses include (1) all individuals within the areas of investigation who consumed water from the Airway Heights Water and Sanitation District, and (2) all individuals within the areas of investigation who consumed water from smaller water systems and wells. 
  • The Property Damage Class is individuals who own real property in the areas of investigation serviced by the Airway Heights Water and Sanitation District or those with private wells in the areas of investigation. 
Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Environmental

Most Recent Case Event

Fairchild AFB Firefighting Foam and Contaminated Water Complaint

November 1, 2018

This Washington State class action is similar to another filed on the opposite side of the country, in Suffolk County, New York, Both concern contamination from a firefighting training site and cite some of the same defendants. The complaint for this class action alleges that chemicals from firefighting foam have contaminated the surface and ground water for nearby communities.

fire_training_site_contamination_compl.pdf

Case Event History

Fairchild AFB Firefighting Foam and Contaminated Water Complaint

November 1, 2018

This Washington State class action is similar to another filed on the opposite side of the country, in Suffolk County, New York, Both concern contamination from a firefighting training site and cite some of the same defendants. The complaint for this class action alleges that chemicals from firefighting foam have contaminated the surface and ground water for nearby communities.

fire_training_site_contamination_compl.pdf
Tags: Contaminated Water/Groundwater, Environmental Contamination