Top Pentagon officials to visit Georgia following questions about dangerous contamination at Dobbins

With new questions about what’s being done to fix the contamination of a dangerous chemical at Dobbins Air Reserve Base and three other bases throughout Georgia, U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) said top Pentagon officials will visit the state.

A report from the Office of the Inspector General found that the Department of Defense failed to protect service members and the surrounding communities of those bases from a toxic chemical called PFAS. Since the 1970s, firefighters used the chemical on the bases. It’s been found to cause cancer, thyroid disease, weakened immunity in children, among a host of other health problems.

One memo suggested that defense leaders knew about the dangers as early as 2008. The IG report said that no action was taken until 2016, and the contamination has still not yet been completely cleaned up.


The report also said that there were big delays in informing service members about exposure to the chemical.

Meanwhile, people that live in a neighborhood across the street from Dobbins said they first time they heard about it was when FOX 5’s Rob DiRienzo knocked on their door.

"No one has reached out to us," said Yuri Hernandez. "It’s bad, especially in this neighborhood because there are kids everywhere, so I didn’t know, and they’re always kids out here playing."

Last week on Capitol Hill, Sen. Ossoff pressed Deputy Asst. Secretary of Defense Richard Kidd about the lack of communication and the slow response from the federal government. .

"Will you commit to use every resource at your disposal and to … fully assess the health impacts on these military communities?’ Sen. Ossoff asked Kidd, requesting that he come to the state to see for himself.

"Having spent many years in Georgia when I was a young man in the Army, I would welcome a trip back," Kidd responded.

Sen. Ossoff told FOX 5 that Pentagon officials have since told him that they will be making the trip in the coming months.

Robins Air Force Base in Houston County, Moody Air Force Base in Lowndes County, and Savannah International Airport were also found to be contaminated with PFAS.

The Air Force has previously acknowledged that it has contaminated drinking water close to its bases in more than a dozen other states, but it insisted that the water is OK.

FOX 5 reviewed water quality reports from the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority from the past two years. Of the hundreds of chemicals they tested for – PFAS was not one of them.


The authority’s general manager Glenn Page said the state’s Environmental Protection Division detected trace amounts in one of their treatment plants, and in the other levels were undetectable.

He added that the drinking water that comes from them is perfectly safe to drink.

Kevin Cown teaches kids at Stovenhaven School’s north campus, a stone’s throw from Dobbins.

He said he grew up in Marietta and has deep ties to the base, but he had no idea about the dangers.

"Being a school, I would like to know those kinds of things," he said. "Being honest being with people is being a good neighbor."