Navy: Two wells near Ault Field base contaminated

The Navy says it has identified two additional wells contaminated with a chemical found in a certain type of firefighting foam.

This time the Navy was testing wells near the neighborhood of Area 6, a closed-down landfill on the Ault Field base of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, for the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

The Navy sampled 14 drinking wells and 13 groundwater wells. So far, the Navy received preliminary results for nine drinking water wells and three groundwater wells. The results showed that two drinking water wells contained the chemicals in an amount above the lifetime advisory level established by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Navy provided the two residences just outside the base with bottled drinking water within 24 hours of receiving the results, the Navy said.

The Navy also tested for 1,4-dioxane and vinyl chloride. The preliminary results were back from 13 drinking water wells and three groundwater. None of the tests showed levels beyond what is considered safe.

The Navy previously tested residential wells around Outlying Field Coupeville and Ault Field and identified exceedances. Those families have also been supplied with bottled drinking water.

Area 6 is a 260-acre site located in the southeast corner of Ault Field on North Whidbey.

A 1993 “Superfund Record of Decision” states that 2.2 million gallons of liquids and sludge, between 300,000 and 700,000 gallons of acids and solvents, an estimated 100,000 to 600,000 gallons of oily sludge, and unknown quantities of oils, asbestos and other hazardous waste were dumped at the site.

The Navy held a community meeting about the testing on Feb. 1.

The Navy reports that there are still wells left in the sampling area that have not been tested because some residents didn’t sign up.

“The Navy believes it is important to test as many wells in the identified sampling area in order to identify and address potential exposures in drinking water,” a Navy press release states.

The Navy reports that it notified residents in the sampling area of the testing by letter and will make another effort to reach those who didn’t sign up.

Those who live within the sampling area, or suspect they might, are asked to call 360-396-1030, and a Navy representative will return the call to make arrangements.

Specific information about the test results will only be released by the Navy to the affected residents, the Navy reports.

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