Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Mike Stag, Esq.
The Fort Wainwright Water Contamination Lawsuit is an active lawsuit
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Fort Wainwright Water Contamination Lawsuit Overview

Fort Wainwright originated in 1939 as a cold weather station called the United States Air Force Base Ladd Field. Until 1961 it was used to test military aircraft in frigid weather conditions before being transferred to the Army and renamed Fort Wainwright after a World War II general. Over the years, this base was home to infantry and aviation brigades, combat teams, the Northern Warfare Training Center, Bassett Army Community Hospital 65th Explosive Ordnance Disposal, and more. Fort Wainwright has a population of around 6,700 soldiers, 10,200 family members, 2,300 civilians and contractors, and 7,800 retirees and veterans. The installation continues to grow and is located in Fairbanks, Alaska, one of the top-growing cities in the country. 

Fort Wainwright is one of many military bases across the United States that has dealt with toxic contamination. PFAS, a group of chemicals found in firefighting foams, is one of the biggest concerns as they can cause a range of cancers and life-threatening illnesses. Individuals are now filing lawsuits against chemical manufacturers after they were exposed to toxic drinking water and then developed a serious illness. If you were affected by contaminated water on base, you may be eligible to file a claim.

Fort Wainwright Water Contamination Lawsuit Updates

April 2024 – Fort Wainwright Veterans File PFAS Water Contamination Lawsuits 

After Camp Lejeune made headlines for contaminated water, more and more veterans became aware of exposure at other military bases. Aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) is a firefighting foam used to contain and put out fires in the military for decades. Unfortunately, manufacturers used PFAS in the foam. PFAS represents a group of chemicals that build up in the body and increase the risk of cancer, among other illnesses. Fort Wainwright is one of many bases with known PFAS water contamination. If you were stationed at or near Fort Wainwright, consumed contaminated water, and developed a related illness, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. 

April 2021 – Alaska Files Complaint Against PFAS Manufacturers

In April 2021, Alaska’s Attorney General Treg Taylor shared that the State of Alaska filed a lawsuit against 3M, DuPont de Nemours and Company, and multiple other PFAS manufacturers. The complaint alleged that these manufacturers produced PFAS-containing products like AFFF while knowing the potential risks. In addition to military bases, Alaska airports also used AFFF in training and real-time situations. 

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History of Toxic Exposure at Fort Wainwright

Fort Wainwright has a long history with various toxins including PCBs, PFAS, and other chemicals. When considering unsafe levels of PFAS within the base’s drinking water, it can be helpful to reference the EPA’s guidance. The EPA issued a 2016 Lifetime Health Advisory for PFAS at 70 ppt. However, it has since issued updated health advisories of 0.004 ppt for PFOA and 0.02 ppt for PFOS.

January-December 2022 – PFAS Detected in Fort Wainwright Drinking Water 

The 2023 Fort Wainwright Water Quality Report shared data from January 1st, 2022 through the end of the year. PFAS (PFOS and PFOA, in particular) were detected at the water plant and in three wells with levels ranging from 2.9 ppt to 21.9 ppt. The report notes aircraft firefighting foam as the likely source of PFAS contamination. 

March 2022 – Final Preliminary Assessment Details PFAS Contamination Across Fort Wainwright

A Final Preliminary Assessment for PFAS at Fort Wainwright highlighted multiple sites at Fort Wainwright where firefighting foam was used, stored, and disposed of, contributing to toxic soil and groundwater. Areas with groundwater samples that had PFAS levels higher than Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Risk Screening Levels included: 

  • Taxiway E (880 ppt PFOS and 69 ppt PFOA)
  • Fire Training Pits 3A and 3B (360-370 ppt PFOS, 200-1,200 ppt PFOA, and 3,900-4,000 ppt PFBS)
  • Fire Station #2 (40 ppt PFOS and 6,500 ppt PFBS) 
  • Ladd Army Airfield Hangar 1 (110 ppt PFOA)
  • Ladd Army Airfield Hangar 6 (3,300 ppt)
  • DRMO Yard and Drum Site (970 ppt PFOS and 49 ppt PFOA)
  • Fire Station #3 Building 1054 (59 ppt PFOA)

2021 – Ten Contaminants Exceed Health Guidelines

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) 2021 Tap Water Database Update, ten contaminants were detected that exceeded EWG Health Guidelines, including: 

  • Bromodichloromethane at 57 times the guideline 
  • Chloroform at 103 times the guideline
  • Dichloroacetic acid at 37 times the guideline 
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA5) at 184 times the guideline
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA9) at 385 times the guideline 
  • Manganese at 4.3 times the guideline 
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at 174 times the guideline 
  • Radium at 36 times the guideline
  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) at 299 times the guideline 
  • Trichloroacetic acid at 111 times the guideline 

2018-2022 – Sampling Detects PFAS in Water Samples 

After increased attention around the dangers of PFAS in 2016, the Army began sampling for PFAS at various military bases, including Fort Wainwright. Testing from 2018 through 2022 continued to reveal unsafe levels of PFAS in groundwater, particularly in areas that involved fire training and aircraft management. 

1999 – EPA Addresses Fort Wainwright for Multiple PCB Violations 

In April 1999, the EPA took multiple actions against Fort Wainwright “for leaks of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other violations of federal rules for the safe management of PCBs.” The base contributed to environmental contamination with PCB leaks, improper storage, and poor labeling and recordkeeping regarding PCBs.

1992-2002 – Army Signs Agreement to Address Base Contamination

In 1992, the Army signed a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA) with the state of Alaska and the EPA to address contamination at the base through five projects, each with a group of contaminated sites. Remediation took place from 1997 to 2002 to eliminate contaminated soil and address contaminated groundwater. 

1990 – Fort Wainwright Becomes Superfund Site 

In 1990, Fort Wainwright became a Superfund site and was also added to the EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL). This includes 911,604 acres of land with multiple Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) sites.

Fort Wainwright Water Contamination Map

The Fort Wainwright water contamination base shows key areas identified as likely sources of PFAS contamination, including fire stations and fire training areas. You can also see wells in close proximity to these sites, making them susceptible to the toxins. 

Contaminants Found in Fort Wainwright Drinking Water

Some of the main contaminants of concern that have impacted drinking water quality at Fort Wainwright include PFAS, industrial solvents, pesticides, herbicides, explosive compounds, and petroleum byproducts. 

Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances 

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of “forever chemicals” that build up in the body and environment without breaking down. They can cause cancer and other serious illnesses, especially with long-term exposure. PFAS has been a major concern at Fort Wainwright from the use of firefighting foam. 

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are manufactured chemicals produced largely before 1977. Like PFAS, PCBs don’t break down easily and can remain in air, water, and soil for decades. Military veterans are at risk of toxic exposure to PCBs, especially those in engineering and maintenance roles. PCBs can cause skin conditions, anemia, liver damage, stomach problems, and reproductive issues. 

Other Toxins 

Other toxins that have been found at Fort Wainwright include: 

  • Solvents
  • Pesticides 
  • Herbicides 
  • Explosive compounds 
  • Petroleum-based substances

Current Water Quality at Fort Wainwright

Fort Wainwright continues to have issues with PFAS drinking water contamination. According to the base’s profile on the U.S. Army website, the most recent results indicated 6.3 ppt for PFOA and PFOS in finished drinking water. 

Water Treatment Efforts at Fort Wainwright

Fort Wainwright drinking water undergoes traditional filtration and treatment practices. In response to PFAS contamination, the base has a quarterly monitoring schedule that looks for exceedances of the 70 ppt Lifetime Health Advisory level. The base’s current CERCLA Phase is listed as “Remedial Investigation planned.”

Health Risks Linked to Drinking Water at Fort Wainwright

King Law is evaluating cases that involve the following conditions, all of which are a potential risk for those who consumed contaminated drinking water at Fort Wainwright: 

Other illnesses related to Fort Wainwright toxins include: 

  • Anemia 
  • Birth defects 
  • Liver damage 
  • Reproductive issues 
  • Skin conditions 
  • Stomach problems

Eligibility Criteria for Fort Wainwright Water Contamination Lawsuit

To be eligible for a Fort Wainwright water contamination lawsuit, you must: 

  1. Have been exposed to a toxin for at least six months 
  2. Have developed an illness related to your toxic exposure 

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

For example, if you were exposed to PFAS-contaminated water for a year at Fort Wainwright, and then developed testicular cancer, you could have a good chance at earning financial compensation through a PFAS claim.

Fort Wainwright Water Contamination Settlement Amounts

Settlement and payout amounts can vary on a case-by-case basis. Based on similar lawsuits, we anticipate Fort Wainwright settlements to range from $30,000 to $500,000 with an average settlement of $250,000. 

If your case lacks evidence, you may see a settlement closer to $30,000-$75,000. If you faced long-term exposure and a severe diagnosis at a young age, you could see a settlement closer to $1,000,000.

How to File a Fort Wainwright Water Contamination Lawsuit

To file a Fort Wainwright water contamination lawsuit: 

  1. Begin collecting documentation that proves you were exposed to a toxin at the base and developed a related illness. 
  2. Reach out to an experienced attorney and schedule a consultation to review your case and confirm your eligibility. 
  3. Your attorney will build your case, file it in the appropriate court, and advise whether you should pursue a settlement or a trial verdict. If you pursue a settlement, they can negotiate on your behalf. 
  4. These cases may take several months or longer to resolve, but if successful, you should receive compensation to use for lost wages, medical bills, and other damages. 

Rest assured that King Law attorneys are experienced at handling such cases and can guide you through the entire process with patience, compassion, and confidence. 

Evidence to Support Your Fort Wainwright Claim

The following evidence can help substantiate your Fort Wainwright claim: 

  • Medical records showing your diagnosis and other details like prognosis, symptoms, limitations, and suggested treatment 
  • Copies of military orders, directives, and discharge paperwork proving your time at Fort Wainwright 
  • Proof of water contamination like water quality reports, investigative reports, press releases, etc. 
  • Expert testimonies, environmental studies, and other reliable resources showing the dangers of the contaminant you were exposed to

Statute of Limitations for Fort Wainwright Water Contamination Claims

Individuals filing a Fort Wainwright claim are subject to state-specific statutes of limitations. Your deadline may be impacted based on the circumstances of the case, so it’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible so you don’t lose your chances at compensation. 

Fort Wainwright Water Contamination Lawyers

Utilizing the right attorney can have a huge impact on the success of your case. Seek a lawyer who is experienced in handling toxic torts to ensure they have the knowledge and resources needed to advocate on your behalf and build the strongest case possible. King Law is backed by years of experience and strong testimonies that show we know what it takes to get you the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Continue learning about contamination at Fort Wainwright with the following answers to frequently asked questions.

Is Fort Wainwright water safe to drink?
Fort Wainwright has dealt primarily with PCB and PFAS contamination. However, there have also been issues with pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and disinfectants.
What are the toxins in Fort Wainwright?
Fort Wainwright has dealt primarily with PCB and PFAS contamination. However, there have also been issues with pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and disinfectants.
Is Fort Wainwright a Superfund site?
Yes, Fort Wainwright is a Superfund site and is on the EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL).
What is the lawsuit on Fort Wainwright?
Victims of water contamination at Fort Wainwright are filing lawsuits against chemical manufacturers as a result of their wrongful exposure.
What are the environmental issues in Fort Wainwright?
Fort Wainwright has soil and water contamination due to military activities like the use of PFAS-containing firefighting foams.
What are the deadlines for filing a claim in the Fort Wainwright lawsuit?
The deadline to file a Fort Wainwright lawsuit varies based on the state and type of claim.
What types of health problems are linked to the Fort Wainwright water contamination?
Those who consumed contaminated Fort Wainwright water may be at risk of kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, testicular cancer, bladder cancer, thyroid cancer, thyroid disease, and ulcerative colitis, among other conditions.
What evidence do I need for my claim in the Fort Wainwright lawsuit?
You need proof of your time at Fort Wainwright, exposure to a toxin for at least six months, and diagnosis of a related illness to file a Fort Wainwright lawsuit.
How long will the Fort Wainwright lawsuit process take?
It can take several months or longer to file a Fort Wainwright lawsuit.
What steps should I take if I was affected by the Fort Wainwright contamination?
You should contact a healthcare provider as soon as you develop symptoms of a contamination-related illness. Then, contact an attorney to begin filing a claim.
What is the average payout for the Fort Wainwright lawsuit?
We anticipate settlements to pay out around $250,000 on average for Fort Wainwright cases. This amount can be much lower or much higher depending on the length of exposure, age at the time of exposure, and severity of illness. 
Is PFAS in Fort Wainwright water?
Yes, PFAS is in Fort Wainwright water.
What steps has Fort Wainwright taken to address the PFAS contamination?
Fort Wainwright conducts quarterly drinking water testing to monitor PFAS contamination. Remedial Investigation is planned for further efforts.
What are the main contaminants found in Fort Wainwright's drinking water?
Fort Wainwright has dealt primarily with PFAS in its drinking water, as well as heavy metals, disinfectants, PCBs, and other chemicals.
Who is eligible for the Fort Wainwright water contamination lawsuit?
Individuals who were exposed to toxins in Fort Wainwright drinking water for at least six months and who developed a related illness may be eligible for a lawsuit.
How can individuals affected by the Fort Wainwright water contamination file a lawsuit?
Eligible individuals should collect evidence of their exposure and diagnosis, and contact an attorney to schedule a consultation for their water contamination claim.