Record file Over 100 people attended a public meeting regarding chemicals at a former training area at Naval Air Station Whidbey on Dec. 15 at the Pacific Rim Institute in Central Whidbey. The Navy’s test results of the waters in Coupeville were similar to that of independent testing.

Water testing in Coupeville results trickle in after Navy conducts its own test

The Navy’s test of the Town of Coupeville’s water came back with results very similar to those from the town’s independent testing, Mayor Molly Hughes announced in a press release this week.

Both tests found that one of two potentially toxic chemicals was detected in the town’s water, but that it’s below the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s lifetime advisory level.

But the Navy also announced this week that a total of six wells near Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s Outlying Field Coupeville have tested above the advisory level. One well near the Ault Field base tested above the limit.

A total of 127 samples were sent for testing. The Navy has results on 100 of them.

The Navy has been testing drinking water wells near the two bases for the presence of perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. The chemicals were present in a firefighting foam used at the base.

Earlier this year, the protection agency, or EPA, set a lifetime advisory level for the two chemicals at 70 parts per trillion.

The Town of Coupeville’s water was tested because the town’s wells are relatively near the Outlying Field. PFOS was not detected in any of the four wells tested or at entry to distribution. PFOA was not detected at the three Fort Casey wells.

Navy testing found that PFOA was detected at 61 parts per trillion at the Keystone well and at 38 parts per trillion at the entry to distribution.

The town’s results, which were received earlier this month, found PFOA at 59 and 62 parts per trillion at the Keystone well and 25 and 27 parts per trillion at entry to distribution. The town blends the water from its wells; where the mixed water enters the distribution system is called the “entry to distribution.”

The Navy is providing clean drinking water to affected residents while test results are being validated. Property owners will be notified by the Navy as their results become validated, according to a press release.

“The uniformity of the results received from two different sampling events, taken by two different samplers and processed at two different laboratories, lend credibility to both the Town of Coupeville and the Navy’s water test results,” the mayor wrote in a press release.

All results, at all locations, taken by both the Town and the Navy fall below the EPA’s lifetime advisory level of 70 parts per trillion. The lifetime advisory, set by the EPA, establishes a level that is intended to be safe and protective against adverse health effects for individuals consuming water contained with chemicals.

The Navy has created a website,, to keep the public informed of their testing and results.

The Navy continues to test private wells. Residents can see a map of the area being tested by going to the website, clicking on “OLF Fact Sheet” at the bottom of the page, and looking at the area shaded in purple. If you live within the purple Phase 1 area, you may schedule water sampling for your residence by emailing or leaving a voice mail at 360-396-1030.

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