Navy seeks public comment on PFAS removal options

The Navy is aiming to provide permanent solutions for nearly 30 North Whidbey residences with wells that tested positive for toxic chemicals. A final decision will be made no later than July 2020, said Kendra Leibman, remedial project manager for Navy Facilities Engineering Command Northwest.

Navy Facilities Engineering Command Northwest is accepting comments until Monday, Dec. 9 on its preferred long-term actions for seven wells that had tested above the EPA’s lifetime health advisory for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances knowns as PFAS. The family of chemicals is found in firefighting foam used by the Navy to extinguish petroleum-based fires.

In a draft evaluation and cost analysis, the Navy recommended hooking five of the wells to Oak Harbor service, one to the Navy’s water supply and digging a deeper well for another residence near Ault Field. It would pay for construction and connection fees, said Leibman.

At least 27 homes had been using water contaminated by PFAS, linked to health complications such as cancer. Households were given bottled water or a kitchen sink filter if their well tested above the EPA lifetime health advisory.

Local activist Rick Abraham said there are other homes with wells that tested above minimum risk levels identified by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. He also said there are more types of PFAS found than the two types that triggered action by the Navy.

The problem was first identified in 2016, another well was found in 2017 and the rest in 2018, Leibman said.

The report is available at Oak Harbor Library or by contacting James Johnson at 360-396-6387 or PAO_Feedback@navy.mil

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