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SECURITY > Okinawa

Abnormally high level of toxic chemicals detected in wastewater from U.S. military facility

Okinawa Times gave top play to the disclosure by an unspecified source that an extraordinarily high level of PFAS was detected in wastewater collected from a water tank at a U.S. Army oil storage facility in Uruma, from which PFAS-contaminated foam extinguisher leaked on June 10. According to analysis of the water sampled jointly by the U.S. military, the Okinawa prefectural government, and the Okinawa Defense Bureau on June 28, some 80,000 nanograms of toxic PFAS was detected, almost 1,600 times higher than the permissible level set by the Japanese government. The paper wrote that the results flew in the face of the U.S. military’s insistence at the time of the incident that the leaked water was safe. The daily explained that since the survey was conducted based on the SOFA supplementary accord on environmental issues, its results could only be released to the public jointly. Each of the three parties reportedly conducted their own analysis, with the prefectural government having learned in late July the results of its survey outsourced to a commercial agent. The daily claimed that the U.S. military has not yet agreed to make a joint announcement although more than five months have elapsed since the mishap perhaps out of fear of triggering a backlash from local officials and residents.

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