While the town periodically sends information to our water customers, I realize I have not sent out a general update on the PFAS plan to the greater community in a while. There is much good news to share.
Last week, we broke ground on the new water treatment plant at our Fort Casey well field. The Navy is on course to have the new facility built, tested and online in June.
After studying the various types of PFAS treatment, granulated activated carbon (GAC) was selected for its superior ability to remove multiple compounds in the PFAS family. GAC has a history of effectively treating PFAS with the least amount of water wasted in the treatment process. The used carbon can also be regenerated and is environmentally friendly. Based on tests of our water, and the experience of other communities, we expect our PFOA and PFOS readings to be non-detectable after treatment. The town’s certified plant operators will monitor and test all water before it enters our distribution system.
As a side benefit, the GAC treatment will improve the taste and smell of the water.
The Navy has been generous in its design of the new plant. The new building and filters are designed for capacity to meet projected customer demands for the next 30 years. The plant is designed to accommodate treatment technologies that may become available in the future.
At the same time the new water treatment plant is being built, plans are being finalized to extend the town’s water lines to serve properties with private wells that currently test above the EPA’s lifetime advisory level for PFAS.
The Navy committed to connecting these houses to town water by the end of the year.
The Town of Coupeville’s water already meets standards for safe drinking water.
So, why, you may ask, has the Navy agreed to treat it? The town’s water service area includes many private wells. New regulations for drinking water are being considered by the state and federal government. By selecting a system-wide treatment, the Navy has positioned the town to serve additional customers as needs may arise and regulations change.
The town was involved in each step of the design process and believes this is the best long-term approach to addressing all PFAS situations.
While the Navy has been a good partner, the process to reach the best solution was long and arduous. I want to thank our customers for their patience during this time of learning, testing and study while we look for answers. I am excited about the completion of these projects and look forward to providing our customers with safe drinking water for decades to come.
• Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes was elected in November 2015. She previously served for 12 years on the council and has been a resident of Coupeville for over 20 years.