Spokane International Airport PFAS

Facility Site ID: 6332493 Cleanup Site ID: 16774

  • Site Status

  • Awaiting Cleanup

Public Comment Period March 29, 2024-May 27, 2024

Enforcement order and public participation plan

You are invited to review and comment on the Enforcement Order​ and Public Participation Plan.

The order requires Spokane International Airport (SIA) to complete a remedial investigation and feasibility study. The remedial investigation will determine the full extent of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other contamination in soil and groundwater, and the feasibility study will assess cleanup options. The order includes a scope of work and schedule for completing the investigation and study.

The order went into effect on March 29, the day we issued it. Any public input about the investigation, such as personal knowledge of the site’s history or places you believe should be investigated, can be used as we develop the remedial investigation work plan. We planned a 60-day comment period to allow public input for at least 30 more days after people receive the notice in the mail.

The Public Participation Plan describes how you will be informed and can comment during the cleanup process.

You can learn more in the public notice that was mailed to the community and by reviewing the order and plan. You may also view comments as we receive them.

Public meeting
Please join Ecology for a public meeting where we will discuss the documents, answer your questions, and accept written comments.
Review the documents
Submit comments via email, mail, or online by 5/27 to:

Jeremy Schmidt, jeremy.schmidt@ecy.wa.gov
4601 N. Monroe St., Spokane, WA 99205
Online comment form | View all comments

Next steps

Ecology will consider and respond to all comments we receive during this public comment period. We will post our response to comments document on this webpage and send the document to people who submitted comments.

Under the Enforcement Order, SIA is required to submit the draft Site Assessment Report for PFAS to Ecology on May 28, 2024.

Negotiations For Agreed Order Ended March 11

Ecology invited the Spokane International Airport (SIA) to negotiate an agreed order that legally requires them to complete a remedial investigation and feasibility study. The remedial investigation will determine the full extent and locations of contamination. The feasibility study will evaluate cleanup options. The agreed order includes a scope of work for the remedial investigation and feasibility study and a schedule for completing it.

The 60-day negotiation period began on October 11, 2023, and we requested SIA to provide any comments by November 8. On November 9, 2023, SIA requested to extend the negotiations for 60 days to obtain technical and expert review and analyses of our proposed scope of work (view letter). On November 13, we granted the extension with the goal of ending negotiations February 8, 2024 (view letter).

On February 7, 2024, SIA requested an additional 60-day extension to confirm the agreed order terms are compatible with its Federal Aviation Administration certification (view letter). Because SIA raised this issue two months ago, Ecology granted a partial extension of 30 days (view letter). SIA responded to our letter on February 26 (view letter).

On March 7, 2024, SIA requested a third extension (view letter) instead of signing the agreed order by March 11 as Ecology had requested. On March 12, we responded to SIA’s February 26 and March 7 letters and enclosed a draft enforcement order (view letter). We issued the enforcement order March 29 because SIA didn’t sign the agreed order.

Washington's cleanup process invites public input (click to enlarge).
Washington's cleanup process invites public input (click to enlarge).

Ways To Stay Informed

If you would like to be added to the postal mailing list, please send your mailing address to Erika Beresovoy at erika.beresovoy@ecy.wa.gov or call her at 509-385-2290. The postal mailing list will notify you about open public comment periods for the Spokane International Airport PFAS site.

To join the West Plains PFAS updates email list, you can subscribe online, or email or call Erika to request to be added. The email list will notify you about open public comment periods for the Spokane International Airport PFAS site, as well as other PFAS-related topics relevant to the West Plains, including the Area-wide Groundwater Investigation we're funding. You can also find more information on our PFAS in West Plains private wells webpage.

How The Site Was Discovered

In October 2017, SIA hired an environmental consultant to drill two new groundwater monitoring wells in the northeast part of the airport property. In November, these wells and an existing well were sampled to determine if PFAS were in groundwater. Sample results for all three wells had levels of PFAS above Washington’s recommended health safety levels.

PFAS contamination had been identified in wells in and around the nearby Fairchild Air Force Base earlier in 2017. PFAS, a known human health hazard, are in firefighting foam used to control petroleum fires at airports and military installations.

In March 2019, SIA hired another consultant to sample groundwater monitoring wells for PFAS in an area that had been used for fire training drills in the southwest portion of the airport property. Sample results for three wells had levels of PFAS above Washington’s recommended health safety levels.

Ecology received the 2017 and 2019 sampling results in early 2023 from a third party who had obtained them through a public records request. Ecology completed an initial investigation, and then added the airport to the Contaminated Sites List.

Learn More

PFAS are known as “emerging” contaminants. State and federal health and environmental agencies are learning more about this class of chemicals and setting health limits for them. EPA accepted comments on their proposed PFAS rulemaking through August 11, 2023.

PFAS are a group of industrial chemicals used in fire suppression foam, furniture, carpet, clothing, electronics, and building insulation.

PFAS can easily contaminate groundwater and can be hard to filter out. While people don’t eat these products, we breathe in tiny bits of them that have entered the air. PFAS are found in the blood or urine of over 90 percent of Americans.

In November 2021, Ecology and the Washington Department of Health published our PFAS Chemical Action Plan. The plan identifies the potential health and environmental effects of PFAS chemicals and recommends strategies to reduce or eliminate those impacts in Washington. 

Read Keeping your home and family healthy: Reduce exposure to PFAS (Ecology Publication 20-04-043) for changes you can make in your daily life. 

Legal 3
Public Information 3
Technical Reports 13
Document Title Document Date Document Type
Issuance of Enforcement Order: SIA PFAS site 3/29/2024 Site Specific Administrative Document - other (Administrative correspondence)
Conclusion to Agreed Order Negotiations: SIA PFAS site 3/12/2024 Site Specific Administrative Document - other (Administrative correspondence)
[Third] Request for Extension to Negotiate Agreed Order: SIA PFAS site 3/7/2024 Site Specific Administrative Document - other (Administrative correspondence)
Response to Partial Extension: SIA PFAS site 2/26/2024 Site Specific Administrative Document - other (Administrative correspondence)
Ecology’s Partial Approval to Extend Agreed Order Negotiations: SIA PFAS site 2/14/2024 Site Specific Administrative Document - other (Administrative correspondence)
[Second] Request for Extension to Negotiate Agreed Order: SIA PFAS site 2/7/2024 Site Specific Administrative Document - other (Administrative correspondence)
Ecology’s Conditional Approval to Extend Agreed Order Negotiations: SIA PFAS 11/13/2023 Site Specific Administrative Document - other (Administrative correspondence)
Request for Extension to Negotiated Agreed Order: SIA PFAS 11/9/2023 Site Specific Administrative Document - other (Administrative correspondence)
Spokane International Airport PFAS - Spokane International Airport Initial Response to the “Early Notice of Release of Hazardous Substances and Preliminary Determination of Liability for Release” 8/7/2023 Site Specific Technical Document - other
Spokane International Airport PFAS - Initial Investigation Report 5/12/2023 Initial Investigation Report
Spokane International Airport - 2023 Land Treatment Site Management Plan 1/31/2023 Site Specific Technical Document - other
Spokane International Airport PFAS - Limited Assessment of Electric Avenue Waste Deposal/ Fire Pit Training Area 4/23/2019 Groundwater Monitoring Report
Spokane International Airport PFAS - Monitoring Well Installation and Groundwater Monitoring for Perfluorinated Chemicals 12/12/2017 Site Specific Technical Document - other
There may be more documents related to this site. To obtain documents not available electronically, you will need to make a public records request.

Places to see print documents

  • Eastern Regional Office
    N 4601 Monroe St
    Spokane, 99205-1265
    Please schedule an appointment to view print documents at this location.

Contaminants 1

Contaminant Type
Soil
Groundwater
Surface Water
Air
Sediment
Bedrock
Halogenated Organics - Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) S C
S
Suspected
C
Confirmed Above Cleanup Levels
B
Below Cleanup Levels
RA
Remediated-Above
RB
Remediated-Below
R
Remediated
This contaminant list was based on our best information at the time it was entered. It may not reflect current conditions at the site.