Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island base commander Capt. Matt Arny, center, listen as town Utility Superintendent Joe Grogan explains how water is currently treated and how that will work with the new filtration system. The Navy is paying for a new water treatment plant to remove toxic chemicals called PFAS. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island base commander Capt. Matt Arny, center, listen as town Utility Superintendent Joe Grogan explains how water is currently treated and how that will work with the new filtration system. The Navy is paying for a new water treatment plant to remove toxic chemicals called PFAS. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Navy to pay up to $7 million for Coupeville water system

Coupeville filtration center goes online in June

Coupeville’s water should taste much better by June. It also shouldn’t have any detectable traces of toxic chemicals from firefighting foam used by the Navy.

The Navy is footing an estimated $5-7 million bill to install a granular activated carbon filtration system and to extend the town’s water service to private wells that tested above the Environmental Protection Agency’s lifetime advisory level of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

Coupeville’s water tested below the EPA’s lifetime advisory level and the compounds aren’t regulated. However, a more recent study recommends lower levels, and Mayor Molly Hughes and base commanding officer Capt. Matt Arny said they wanted to get ahead of new regulations that may be implemented.

The chemicals have been correlated with adverse reproductive and developmental effects and certain types of cancer, according to the EPA.

Contractors broke ground this month on a two-story addition to the town’s existing treatment system. It will contain two granular activated carbon filters with room to grow, according to Joe Grogan, Coupeville utility superintendent.

The new filters are about twice the size of the town’s existing filters, which are designed to reduce iron and manganese.

Water from the town’s multiple wells will still pump through these filters first before going through the new process.

“We’ll have some pretty good tasting water when we’re done,” Grogan said.

Carbon molecules are attractive and they tend to seek out molecules that they can bond with.

Activated carbon is also very porous and provides a large surface area in which contaminants may absorb, according to the EPA’s Drinking Water Treatability Database.

Grogan said the process was selected because it doesn’t waste water and it will remove PFAS compounds to undetectable levels. He said it hasn’t been determined yet if another operator will be hired once the plant’s expansion is complete, which Arny said is on track to happen in June.

The new water treatment plant is expected to cost approximately $2.6 million, according to a Navy spokesman.

The project also includes plans to extend town water service to the eight private wells near Outlying Field Coupeville that tested above the EPA’s lifetime advisory level. For these property owners, the Navy will pay for the hook-up fee. Others in the area may connect, but they’ll have to pay the fee themselves.

More in News

Mystery Weekend parading into Langley next weekend

Langley is a quaint little city where crime seems to sleep most… Continue reading

WhidbeyHealth in top 50 for cardiovascular health

WhidbeyHealth was recently chosen as one of 50 hospitals to participate in… Continue reading

$500K bail set for molestation suspect

A 34-year-old Navy man accused of child molestation is being held on… Continue reading

WEAN leads opposition to Navy training in parks

The Navy wants to significantly expand its locations for realistic military exercises… Continue reading

Resident raising money to save Roller Barn

In the era of A-ha and parachute pants — the 1980s —… Continue reading

North Whidbey family evacuated amid deluge

While the sun is a welcome reprieve and the City of Oak… Continue reading

Fire department sees change in the new year

Although South Whidbey Fire/EMS has seen recent changes in staffing, the department’s… Continue reading

Cyberstalker sent to jail for 10 months

A man guilty of harassing a South Whidbey woman through social media… Continue reading

Photos by Laura Guido
                                John Norris winds up his magnet as he gets ready to throw it into the waters of Deer Lake, hoping to pull up something interesting.
South Whidbey man fishes for lost loot

South Whidbey resident John Norris is hunting for treasure. But he isn’t… Continue reading

Most Read