Many in Navy’s water testing area haven’t signed up

The Navy reports that numerous Whidbey residents in the area where officials want to test water wells have still not signed up for the free testing.

Preliminary results are back from the 132 wells that were tested and eight of them were found to have levels of potentially toxic chemical above the EPA’s lifetime health advisory level, the Navy reported.

“Initially, the Navy notified people in the sampling areas by letter to arrange sampling and will make a concerted second effort to contact these residents,” a Navy press release states. “The Navy strongly encourages residents in the sampling area to have their wells sampled.”

The Navy started testing about two months ago for emerging contaminants — perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA — which are chemicals present in firefighting foam. The EPA set the lifetime advisory level for the chemicals last year.

The Navy started testing private and municipal wells near Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s Ault Field base and Outlying Field Coupeville after tests showed water at a former firefighting training area on base far exceeded the advisory level.

More people have signed up for testing near the field on Central Whidbey even though there is a greater population in the testing area on North Whidbey.

The Navy is expected to test the three community wells in Admiral’s Cove this week, Gary Winlund of the Admiral’s Cove Water District said Tuesday night. That district serves nearly 500 residences.

Navy officials emphasize that testing is free and that results are not being shared with the public, beyond generalized information about the number of wells affected.

The Navy is providing clean drinking water to residences with contaminated wells. Officials said the Navy will provide a permanent sources of clean drinking water to the homes if the Navy is determined to be the cause of the contamination.

Navy officials said it is too early to speculate about the cause of the contamination.

The Navy received 77 preliminary sample results from properties near OLF Coupeville. Seven of those were above the lifetime advisory level. One well is shared between two residences, so a total of eight residences are affected near OLF Coupeville.

The Navy received 55 preliminary results from properties near Ault Field and one sample result is above the lifetime health advisory, the Navy reported.

The Navy is working to validate the data. Officials said they will update property owners on the verified results as they become available.

If you know that you do fall in the sampling area, or suspect you might, and want to have your well tested, call 360-396-1030, and a Navy representative will call you back to make arrangements.

The Navy is planning a second round of community meetings on the issue in mid-February.