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DOD and EPA have found chemicals in drinking water at or near military installations that may cause cancer and other health issues. Some of these chemicals can be found in firefighting foam and rocket propellants.
Harmful overgrowths of algae—called algal blooms—are a problem in all 50 states. These blooms can hurt aquatic plants and animals by producing toxins, consuming oxygen, and limiting light penetration in the water.
Prior to the 1980s and the passage of environmental legislation--particularly the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) governing environmental cleanup--Department of Defense (DOD) activities contaminated millions of acres of soil and water on and near DOD sites....
DOD defines emerging contaminants as chemicals or materials with (1) perceived or real threat to health or the environment and (2) lack of published standards or a standard that is evolving or being reevaluated.
In the early 1980s, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were discovered in some of the water systems serving housing areas on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Exposure to certain VOCs may cause adverse health effects, including cancer.
Perchlorate, a primary ingredient in propellant, has been used for decades in the manufacture and firing of rockets and missiles. Other uses include fireworks, flares, and explosives. Perchlorate has been found in drinking water, groundwater, surface water, and soil in the United States.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of federal ship scrapping programs, focusing on: (1) the factors contributing to the backlog of about 200 surplus ships waiting to be scrapped; and (2) federal agencies' efforts to address the backlog.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on a major shift in policy by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Navy as it relates to the disposal of surplus ships for scrapping.