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Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Mike Stag, Esq.
The Fairchild AFB Water Contamination Lawsuit is an active lawsuit
See If You Qualify

Fairchild Air Force Base Water Contamination Lawsuit Overview

Established in 1942, Fairchild Air Force Base served as a critical repair and supply depot during WWII. The base, located approximately 12 miles from Spokane, Washington, was renamed in honor of Air Force Vice-Chief of Staff General Muir S. Fairchild, who died while on duty in the Pentagon. 

The base, which is home to the 92d Air Refueling Wing, the 141st Air Refueling Wing, and the 336th Training Group, serves over 20,000 residents, including nearly 3,500 active duty service members and more than 17,000 retirees.

Fairchild Air Force Base has recently come under scrutiny due to contaminants detected in the soil, groundwater, and surface water. The installation was one of 180 Superfund sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to have Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, or PFAS contamination

Active and retired military personnel and civilians who were stationed or worked at Fairchild Air Force Base and were subsequently diagnosed with a condition related to PFAS-contamination are strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel. At King Law, we have extensive experience assisting individuals with military base water contamination lawsuits. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Fairchild Air Force Base Water Contamination Lawsuit Updates

April 2024: Investigations continue into illnesses and injuries related to water contamination at Fairchild Air Force Base. Affected individuals are strongly encouraged to contact an attorney to determine the best course of action.

December 2023: A status update provided by the Air Force shows that two municipal wells located on the base have PFAS levels of above 70 parts per trillion (ppt). A filtration system is installed on one, and one is listed as non-active. Testing at 107 off-base residential wells shows PFAS levels above 70 ppt. A total of 89 filtration systems are installed, and four residences are connected to city water. The Air Force is providing bottled water to 28 residences affected by the contamination.

October 2022: Testing by the Air Force confirms PFAS levels in wells that supply drinking water to residents near the base at above the 70 parts per trillion health advisory limits set by the EPA at the time.

April 2018: Almost 100 residents living near Fairchild Air Force Base join together in a federal class-action lawsuit against the manufacturers of a firefighting foam used by the military for decades.

On this page:

History of Toxic Exposure at Fairchild Air Force Base

For decades, the military and Environmental Protection Agency have suspected significant contamination at Fairchild Air Force Base. Testing has confirmed the presence of numerous toxins at the installation and led to the designation of the base as a Superfund site

In 2017, the Air Force initiated substantial monitoring for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), specifically Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). It is believed that these contaminants may have been released into the groundwater and seeped into nearby wells due to the military’s use of the firefighting agent Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF)

Testing confirmed substantial contamination in wells located on and off the base. In response to the contamination, the Air Force installed filtration systems and offered bottled water to affected residents. PFAS levels were at times detected in the thousands. The EPA health advisory limit was set at 70 parts per trillion, but in 2023, the agency indicated that it would propose new maximum contaminant levels of 4 parts per trillion.

Fairchild Air Force Base Water Contamination Map

According to the EPA, there has been substantial contamination at the site due to the base’s past activities, including “disposal of solvents, paint wastes, plating sludge and industrial wastes.” Four waste areas covering approximately 85 acres have been identified for remedial investigation. Additionally, PFAS contamination above the health advisory levels has been detected at wells supplying drinking water on- and off-base.

Contaminants Found in Fairchild Air Force Base Drinking Water

While the primary contaminants found in the drinking water at Fairchild Air Force Base are Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), two commonly used PFAS, there have also been a number of other dangerous toxins found. 

Known contaminants detected in the soil, groundwater, or sediment at Fairchild Air Force Base:

  • Dichloroethene
  • Aroclor 1254
  • Benzene
  • BIS (2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate
  • Cadmium
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Carcinogenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (cPAH)
  • Chloroethene (Vinyl Chloride)
  • Chloroform
  • Chromium
  • Ethylbenzene
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Petroleum
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHS)
  • Silver
  • Tetrachloroethene
  • Trichloroethene
  • Xylene (Mixed Isomers)
  • Zinc

Individuals who suffered adverse health effects after drinking the water on or near Fairchild Air Force Base are encouraged to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the diagnosis and the duration of exposure, you may be entitled to compensation. 

Current Water Quality at Fairchild Air Force Base

The Air Force continues to monitor and test the water quality at and near the base. A status update provided in December 2023 indicated that PFAS at or above 70 parts per trillion was detected in two of the wells on site. One of the wells has been fitted with a filtration system, while the other is not active. Additionally, high levels of PFAS were also detected in 107 off-base residential wells.

Water Treatment Efforts at Fairchild AFB

The Air Force has been working in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the contamination at Fairchild AFB. In compliance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the base routinely monitors and tests the water on and off site.

Additional remediation strategies implemented on the base and to nearby residents affected by the contamination include the opportunity to connect to a municipal water supply and the installation of a Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration system. Individuals who receive their water from a contaminated well may have also been given bottled water to use.

Furthermore, the Air Force provides water sampling to residences with private wells located within a certain proximity to the base. If contaminants are detected, the Air Force has committed to help mitigate the issue. It is important to know that new guidance put forth by the EPA recommends PFAS levels at no more than 4 parts per trillion.

Health Risks Connected to Drinking Water at Fairchild AFB

PFAS exposure has been linked to a number of serious, adverse health conditions. These conditions can prove life-threatening over time. It is strongly recommended that past and current residents of Fairchild Air Force Base engage in regular check-ups and health screenings. Early detection often proves critical in a positive outcome. 

Health risks and symptoms associated with PFAS exposure:

  • Reproductive issues
  • Developmental delays
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Thyroid disease
  • Kidney cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Bladder cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate cancer 
  • Ulcerative colitis 
  • Leukemia

Our law firm is currently evaluating cases where individuals have been diagnosed with:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple-Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with these or another condition linked to the water contamination at Fairchild Air Force Base, you should consult with an attorney. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be entitled to a claim for damages. 

Eligibility Criteria for Fairchild AFB Water Contamination Lawsuit

To qualify for a Fairchild Air Force Base water contamination lawsuit, you must meet certain eligibility criteria. The best way to determine whether you meet these criteria is by consulting with an attorney. 

In order to obtain compensation, you must be able to prove diagnosis of a condition related to the contaminated water at the base. An attorney can help conduct a thorough legal evaluation to determine whether you qualify for a claim. They will look at several factors, including your duration of exposure and your specific diagnosis. 

In general, you will need to be able to prove a duration of exposure of at least six months to be eligible for compensation. Additionally, your diagnosis must be linked to the toxic exposure at the site. Due to these complexities, water contamination lawsuits typically take several months to a year or more to resolve. Contacting an attorney as early in the process as possible can help ensure that you meet all legal requirements, including any statutes of limitations that may apply to your case.

Our law firm is currently evaluating cases where individuals have been diagnosed with:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple-Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Fairchild AFB Water Contamination Settlement Amounts

Settlement and payout amounts from Fairchild Air Force Base water contamination lawsuits are expected to vary substantially depending on the individual circumstances of the case. However, previous cancer-related lawsuits often settled within the range of $100,000 to $300,000. Using this and other information, the average settlement is expected to be around $250,000.

Individuals who are younger at the time of diagnosis or with an extended duration of active illness may receive larger settlements. Certain injuries could result in settlements exceeding $500,000. Claimants with minor injuries or less proof of connection between the base’s water contamination and their injuries may see a case value of $30,000 to $75,000.

Some cases have the potential to reach values at or near $1,000,000. Settlements tend to be lower than potential trial verdicts but guarantee a payout. Once the matter goes to a verdict, there is no guarantee of a payout.

How to File a Fairchild AFB Water Contamination Lawsuit

There are several steps that you should take to file a Fairchild Air Force Base water contamination lawsuit. Remember, you only have a limited amount of time to file; therefore, taking action early often proves critical.

Steps to file a Fairchild Air Force Base water contamination lawsuit:

  • Determine eligibility. To file a water contamination lawsuit, you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements, including the ability to prove the duration of exposure.
  • Consult with an attorney. One of the most important steps in a lawsuit is determining which attorney to retain. An attorney can help you navigate the case and ensure you receive the best possible outcome.
  • Lawsuit preparation. Prior to filing, you will need to prepare the case with the assistance of your attorney. During this phase, you will need to collect the necessary evidence to prove your claim. Your attorney will also determine what court to file the claim based on the specific circumstances of your case.

Once the case is filed, the defendant will need to respond. In general, they have 30 days to respond to the claim. Once a response is filed, the case will enter the discovery process. During discovery, your attorney will have the opportunity to interview witnesses and subpoena necessary documents. Once discovery is complete, your lawyer will begin negotiations. If a favorable settlement cannot be reached during negotiations, the matter will be set for trial. 

Evidence to Support Your Claim:

Evidence is an essential element in any water contamination lawsuit. Your attorney will help determine what evidence may be necessary to prove your case.

Evidence that may be needed to support your claim:

  • Military orders
  • Proof of residence at or near Fairchild Air Force Base
  • Medical records
  • Environmental studies
  • Water sampling results
  • Proof of illness

Statute of Limitations for Fairchild AFB Water Contamination Claims

All Fairchild Air Force Base water contamination claims are subject to a state-specific statute of limitations.

To be eligible for compensation, you must file your claim within the specific timeframe outlined by state law. These statutes of limitations or time limits can vary significantly based on the state and the specifics of the case. Therefore, urgent consultation with a lawyer is advised to initiate the process and enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Fairchild Air Force Base Water Contamination Lawyers

Were you or a loved one diagnosed with a condition related to water contamination at Fairchild Air Force Base? At King Law, we are well-versed in helping individuals file water contamination lawsuits nationwide. Our lawyers will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve after a diagnosis. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Fairchild Air Force Base water safe to drink?
PFAS “forever chemicals” have been detected in the water at and near Fairchild Air Force Base. PFAS have been linked to adverse health conditions, including an increased risk of cancer.
What are the toxins in Fairchild Air Force Base?
The primary toxins found at Fairchild Air Force Base are Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). These two commonly used PFAS are found in the firefighting foam used by the military for decades.
Is Fairchild Air Force Base a Superfund site?
Fairchild Air Force Base has been designated a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency.  
What is the lawsuit on Fairchild Air Force Base?
The lawsuit on Fairchild Air Force Base is due to water contamination. Residents near the base have filed a federal class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of firefighting foam that contained forever chemicals now present in their drinking water.
What are the environmental issues in Fairchild Air Force Base?
Groundwater, soil, and surface water at the base are contaminated with a number of toxic substances, including PFAS, lead, and chloroform.
What are the deadlines for filing a claim in the Fairchild Air Force Base lawsuit?
Deadlines to file are state-specific and timelines may differ slightly depending on the individual circumstances of the case.
What types of health problems are linked to the Fairchild Air Force Base water contamination?
There are several health problems linked to toxic exposure at Fairchild Air Force Base, including an increased risk of developing certain kinds of cancer, kidney disease, and thyroid disorders.  
What evidence do I need for my claim in the Fairchild Air Force Base lawsuit?
Evidence that may prove essential to your claim includes your military orders and medical records.
How long will the Fairchild Air Force Base lawsuit process take?
Fairchild Air Force Base lawsuits are expected to take a few months to a year or more to resolve.
What steps should I take if I was affected by the Fairchild Air Force Base contamination?
If you were affected by the Fairchild Air Force Base contamination, you need to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
What kind of compensation can I expect from the Fairchild Air Force Base lawsuit?
Compensation from a Fairchild Air Force Base lawsuit may include coverage for your medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain, emotional suffering, and more.
What is the average payout for the Fairchild Air Force Base lawsuit?
The average payout for a Fairchild Air Force Base lawsuit is expected to be between $30,000 and $500,000.
How much is the Fairchild Air Force Base settlement per person?
The average settlement per person for a Fairchild Air Force Base lawsuit is anticipated to be around $250,000.
Is PFAS in Fairchild Air Force Base water?
PFAS levels exceeding 70 parts per trillion have been found in wells supplying drinking water to Fairchild Air Force Base and nearby residents.
What steps has Fairchild Air Force Base taken to address the PFAS contamination?
The Air Force has taken several steps to address the PFAS contamination at Fairchild AFB, including installing a filtration system, offering bottled water, and getting affected residents connected to the municipal water supply.
What are the main contaminants found in Fairchild Air Force Base's drinking water?
The main contaminants found in Fairchild Air Force Base’s drinking water are Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA).
Who is eligible for the Fairchild Air Force Base water contamination lawsuit?
Individuals who were stationed at or resided near Fairchild Air Force Base for at least six months and were diagnosed with a PFAS-related condition may be eligible for a water contamination lawsuit.
How can individuals affected by the Fairchild Air Force Base water contamination file a lawsuit?
Individuals affected by the Fairchild Air Force Base water contamination may file a lawsuit by consulting with an attorney as soon as possible.