June 07, 2018

Manchin Announces DOD Will Reimburse Martinsburg for Filtration System in Big Springs Water Plant

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that a provision was included in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that will allow the Department of Defense (DoD) to pay for clean-up costs related to contamination of Martinsburg water supply.

“In 2016, the EPA issued a new advisory for PFOA in drinking water.  Martinsburg and other West Virginia municipalities were faced with the daunting news that their citizens needed alternative drinking water sources due to unacceptable levels of the substance in their drinking water systems.  Martinsburg has additionally been affected by contamination at the Shepherd Air National Guard Base.  I have been working with the EPA, the DOD and Martinsburg officials to make sure that they are reimbursed for costs related to clean up after PFOA was detected in the water supply. But these issues persist in our state. It’s why I led the fight to fix the broken TSCA system so that substances like this wouldn't slip through the cracks and devastate our communities. Even though the NDAA bill still has to pass the Senate, the House and be signed by the President, I will make sure that this provision stays in the bill so that Martinsburg receives the help they need,” Senator Manchin said.


After concerns were raised that Martinsburg’s water system was contaminated by unacceptable levels of a chemical used by the U.S. Air Force and the West Virginia Air National Guard to fight fires, the city chose to shut down the Big Springs Water Plant to prevent the consumption of contaminated drinking water.

Below is a full timeline on Senator Manchin’s efforts on this issue:

May 2016 - Following the announcement by EPA that they would lower the lifetime health advisory for PFOA in spring of 2016, Senator Manchin worked to help facilitate support for the city of Martinsburg, Parkersburg and Vienna – all three municipalities had legacy PFOA contamination from DuPont (now Chemours) facilities.

October 2017- Senator Manchin and Senator Capito have a joint call with Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air for Installations, Environment, and Energy, Richard Hartley. 

November 8, 2017 – Senator Manchin and Senator Capito have a joint call with Lucian Niemeyer, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment.

January 9, 2018 – Senator Manchin spoke with Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, Robert Hood, about Martinsburg.

January 2018 – Senator Manchin sent a letter to the President outlining infrastructure priorities, including Martinsburg.

March 21, 2018 – Senator Manchin sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

May 2018 – Senator Manchin called on the EPA to issue a maximum contaminant limit on PFAS as opposed to merely a lifetime health advisory.

May 2018 – Senator Manchin wrote to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney asking him to immediately release the results of a study regarding the full effects of PFOA and PFOS on human health.