Whidbey public officials won’t stand up to the Navy

Editor,

Being on Whidbey can mean drinking water with toxic chemicals from below and getting hammered with toxic noise from above. Those who only criticize Republican officeholders for condoning these Navy trespasses forget that Whidbey’s Democrats have made an art out of sitting on the fence and looking the other way.

When toxic chemicals were found in the aquifer beneath Outlying Field Coupeville (or OLF), Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes had the town’s wells tested for some, but not all of those chemicals. When perflourooctanic acid (PFOA) was found in the well adjacent to the OLF, she did not ask the Navy to install a new well or even for a filter system. Now, “blended” but still-contaminated water is (unless it has magically disappeared) being served to more than 1,000 Coupeville “customers” including schools and Whidbey General Hospital.

When tested at the distribution point in December, Coupeville’s water contained PFOA at 38 parts per trillion (ppt) — an increase over November’s testing. That level is lower than EPA’s health advisory level, but almost three times the health advisory standard of 14 ppt established by the state of New Jersey. And more than Vermont’s advisory level for people and livestock.

Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson and Whidbey General Hospital Commissioner Gretha Cammermeyer, both on the board of health, have not asked the Navy to provide for a clean water supply, for filter systems or for monitoring to make sure contamination and exposures don’t increase.

Health risks from exposure include harm to a developing fetus or child, decreasing fertility, increased cholesterol, damage to the immune system and increased risk of cancer.

No public officials have called on the Navy to replace its AFFF fire fighting foam, the source of the contaminants, with a substitute. Navy’s fire trucks sitting at the OLF and Ault Field are still loaded with foam that could re-contaminate the aquifer.

None of our public officials have been willing to stand up to the Navy. They would rather for the rest of us to live with noise and water pollution the Navy finds acceptable.

RICK ABRAHAM

Greenbank

More in Letters to the Editor

Support Sno-Isle library system levy increase

Editor, Our libraries are not free. Your Sno-Isle Library card is free,… Continue reading

Need to elect Democrats to U.S. House, Senate

Editor, For graying baby boomers like me, Nov. 6 this a second… Continue reading

‘Ignorance’ on opioid lawsuit ‘disappointing’

Editor, I was surprised and disappointed at the ignorance shown by county… Continue reading

It’s not about facts, but how to change

Editor, I have read with interest the debate between Dean Enell and… Continue reading

Libraries are heart of community, deserve support

Editor, People on Whidbey Island know how valuable our libraries are to… Continue reading

Cutting parking is irresponsible of city

Editor, The City of Langley has presented two plans for a project… Continue reading

‘Glass Menagerie’ will make you laugh, cry

Editor, WICA’s latest theatrical offering is Tennessee Williams’ most famous play, “The… Continue reading

Realized I’m proud to be an ‘old guy’

Editor, I never thought being an old guy would make me proud… Continue reading

Won’t know how much we lost until library gone

Editor, We need to support our libraries by voting yes for libraries… Continue reading

Most Read