Water tests show contaminants in water at Chesapeake’s Fentress airfield

Posted at 11:35 AM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 14:58:32-05

Chesapeake, Va. - Sailors and staff working at Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress will now be getting their drinking water from bottles after test results on the drinking water at the base came back showing high levels of contaminants.

Capt. Lou Shager, Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Oceana, made the announcement on Wednesday morning.

The test results show that several types of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) were present in the water.

The two PFCs -- Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), tested higher than the EPA Provisional Health Advisory levels, which recommend action be taken to reduce exposure to high levels.

PFCs currently have no current regulations standards within the Safe Drinking Water Act but are being studied by the EPA to determine if regulation is needed.

Despite the lack of regulation, the Navy has decided to provided alternative drinking water until safe levels of PFCs are reached.

"These are advisory in nature. There's no mandate by the EPA or the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to test for these, but taking that proactive stance and recognizing that these levels were above that PHA... We're determined to provide bottled water for our personnel who are working here at Fentress," said Capt. Schager.

The Navy says that PFCs are used in a variety of products and substances but they believe it got into the base drinking water from the use of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), which has been used in training exercises at NALF Fentress over the years.

The base uses well water, which makes their exposure to the PFCs, more prominent than those using city water.

Officials are working with the City of Chesapeake and the state to ensure that residents who live outside of the base and use city water are not affected.