DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is beginning to fight off an invisible enemy, “forever chemicals.”

Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS are a group of synthetic fluorinated chemicals, which can be harmful to humans. The project targets a hazardous materials storage facility which accidentally released a firefighting foam twice that contained PFAS in 2008 and 2011.

Greg Plamondon, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Remedial Project Manager said, “One of the characteristics of that type of foam. It’s a coating type foam that easily spreads and that’s what happens. It gets into the water and it disperses easily.”

The 420-foot-long, 30-foot-deep trench reaches all the way down to bedrock, and because of the makeup of the bedrock will use gravity to direct the water to a collection site instead of a pump and treat system.

Plamondon said, “The extraction wells, like a normal pump and treat facility, wouldn’t work here. And this would be a passive system that just slowly collects the groundwater over time. And once it’s collected in that sump at the far end of the trench, it’ll be pumped down to the treatment facility.”

But where does the groundwater go after being treated?

Plamondon said, “This isn’t a real aquifer zone up here because of the tills, but ultimately the water will be discharged to the the base stormwater system and that will go down to an outfall that is a tributary to the Mad River.”

The project took just over a year to complete. Base officials plan on installing the treatment system in March.