Navy needs solutions for island water contamination


After attending the excellent meeting Monday night, “Getting Clear about our Water,” sponsored by Whidbey Water Keepers, I decided to stop drinking the water from my tap and drink only bottled water.

Our water has been contaminated by PFOA and PFOS, perfluorinated compounds unregulated and little understood. As in 27 other military bases in 16 states, the AFFF — aqueous film forming foam — used by the Navy at OLF has leached into our ground water, our only source of water in Coupeville. The amount is lower than the EPA advisory of 70, but higher than the limits set by states like New Jersey (40) and Vermont (20). Some experts believe the EPA’s advisory level is too high. Washington state currently has set no limit.

PFOA and PFOS persist in the environment and are not excreted by the body like other toxic chemicals, therefore, their effects can be cumulative. They are thought to cause testicular and kidney cancer, thyroid disease and high total and LDL cholesterol. They are not filtered from water by conventional methods.

In addition, the water from our town makes its way to the wastewater facility and PFOA and PFOS are not filtered out before the water is expelled into Penn Cove. Therefore fish, shellfish and other sea life can be affected, adding still more to the bodies of those who consume them.

It is imperative that the Navy stop using AFFF, find a substitute and clean up the ground water around OLF.

Marianne Thawley


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