Department of Ecology News Release - February 21, 2024

West Plains residents to receive no-cost drinking water sampling for PFAS

Complete the online Sampling Request Form to sign up

Residents living in the Northeast West Plains drinking water priority sampling area can sign up for PFAS drinking water testing at no cost. 


Drinking water sampling for PFAS will soon be available to about 300 private and shared wells in the northeast West Plains area at no cost to residents. The sampling will begin in early March and comes in response to community concerns about drinking water contaminated with the chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS compounds are found in firefighting foam and other sources.

To ensure people are drinking clean water, a coalition of agencies and community partners are working together to sample drinking water and study groundwater quality in the West Plains. The goal is to better understand the extent and severity of PFAS contamination beyond the boundaries currently being addressed in sampling conducted by Fairchild Air Force Base. The partners include the Washington Department of Ecology, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington State Department of Health, Spokane Regional Health District, Eastern Washington University, and the West Plains Water Coalition. EPA will fund and conduct this sampling effort.

Apply for sampling

Residents on private wells or Group B water systems are encouraged to sign up by completing an online form.

How sampling works

To test the water, samples will be collected from household faucets or from a source leading into the home’s water treatment system. EPA staff and contractors will secure access forms with homeowners and residents before performing the work.

An accredited laboratory will analyze the water samples, and the current residents and homeowners will be given the results as soon as possible, usually within about one month.

If results show PFAS levels are higher than Washington’s recommended health safety levels, the state and local agencies will work with residents to take interim actions, such as supplying safe drinking and cooking water or point-of-use water filtration systems. These initial efforts can help until investigation and cleanup of PFAS sources provide more permanent solutions.


PFAS contamination was identified in wells in and around Fairchild Air Force Base in 2017, where firefighting foam was used to control petroleum fires and perform drills. The U.S. Air Force is investigating PFAS in groundwater, monitoring offsite drinking water wells, and providing bottled water or filtration to residents within their monitoring area.

In 2023, Ecology began the process of investigating PFAS contamination at Spokane International Airport and is planning a public comment period in March or April for the legal order requiring the airport to complete an investigation and assess options for cleanup.

Ecology awarded the City of Medical Lake a grant to investigate groundwater, which will develop a model to show where PFAS contamination is in groundwater in the West Plains. The project includes public outreach, groundwater sampling and analysis, and identification of PFAS sources using geochemical fingerprinting. Sampling is scheduled to begin in spring 2024.

To stay up to date on these projects, please visit Ecology’s webpage about PFAS in West Plains private wells and join our West Plains PFAS updates email list.

Contact information

Stephanie May
Ecology communications
Twitter: EcySpokane
Bill Dunbar
EPA Region 10 Press Office