Navy to begin testing well water near NALF Fentress after contaminates found in water on-base

Posted at 11:33 AM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-03 08:28:44-05

Chesapeake, Va. – A public information meeting took place on Tuesday night to discuss concerns about drinking water around Naval Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF) Fentress.

The meeting started at 4 p.m. lasted 7 p.m.  It was held at Butts Road Intermediate School located at 1571 Mt. Pleasant Rd. in Chesapeake.

There was a line of people walking into the meeting as soon it started.

The purpose of the meeting was to share information and answer questions about the Navy’s plans to sample drinking water from private wells near NALF Fentress to determine if they contain perfluorinated compounds or PFCs.

Representatives from the Navy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality, the City of Chesapeake and the Virginia Dept. of Health were at the meeting.

They had informational posters set up around the room.  Residents were able to walk around, ask questions and sign up for their wells to be tested for free.

The Navy will provide testing for people within a half mile radius of the wells at Fentress, which is about 90 properties.

A Navy spokesperson says they were able to notify about 40 residents in-person about the testing and have been calling and sending information by mail to people they have not been able to reach.

The testing will take place between Feb. 3 - 5 and Feb. 8 - 13.  It will take about 30 minutes and will involve a team of two technicians coming into the home to collect a water sample from the tap.

The results are expected in March.  Another open house informational meeting will be held to share the results.

The Navy will provide alternate drinking water for people if test results show their wells are contaminated.

NewsChannel 3 told you about problems with drinking water on the base last month.

Test results on the water showed that two types of PFCs were present in the water, exceeding EPA provisional health advisory levels.

The Environmental Protection Agency does not require action to be taken for the levels tested, but Navy officials say they want to be proactive.

The CDC says right now, scientists still don't know a lot about the health affects of exposure to PFCs in humans.

According to the Navy, in years past they used fire-fighting foam containing PFCs during training exercises, which is how they believe the PFCs got into the water.  The Navy no longer uses the foam in firefighting training.

Sailors and staff currently have to drink bottled water until a long-term solution is implemented.

Although it's unknown yet if drinking water in wells off the base is affected, the Navy and City of Chesapeake have set up a free water filling station for people who are concerned.

It’s located across the street from Butts Road Intermediate School.  It opened on Saturday, Jan. 30.  The City of Chesapeake says crews are now working to make it more durable since they don't know how long it will be needed.

Additional information from the Navy can be found here.