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Navy Offers To Test Water In Atlantic

MCAS CHERRY POINT –  The U.S. Navy announced Tuesday that it will take precautionary measures in November and offer to test private drinking water wells in identified areas near Marine Corps Outlying Landing Field (MCOLF) Atlantic as part of its commitment to ensuring drinking water supplies have not been affected by past Navy firefighting operations.

These tests are targeted to specific chemicals and will be free to residents who obtain their drinking water from private wells within certain areas adjacent to MCOLF Atlantic.

A public meeting is planned for 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 8 to explain the sampling program to the community and respond to questions from the public. The meeting will be at Atlantic Elementary School, 151 School Drive, Atlantic.

Also on hand at the meeting and working in partnership with the Navy will be representatives from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, North Carolina Division of Public Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 and Carteret County Department of Health.

In May 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued lifetime health advisory levels for two perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – specifically perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – at 70 parts per trillion, individually and combined when both are present, according to the press release. Although these health advisory levels are not enforceable, the Navy has committed to testing for them to protect its neighbors, PFAS, including PFOS and PFOA, are man-made chemicals persistent in the environment. PFAS has been used since the 1950s in products that resist heat, stains, grease and water. It has been used in a variety of products and substances such as non-stick cookware, food packaging such as microwaveable popcorn bags and water resistant textiles and sprays used to treat carpets and fabrics.

The most common historical Navy use of these chemicals has been through the firefighting agent, aqueous film forming foam (AFFF). Although there are no known records indicating AFFF use at MCOLF Atlantic, based on the Navy’s policy protocol and in an abundance of caution, the Navy is conducting this drinking water investigation for PFOS/PFOA beginning in November 2017.

The Navy is mailing notification letters to property owners near MCOLF Atlantic proposing any residential drinking water wells be sampled. If well drinking water concentrations exceed the EPA lifetime health advisory levels for these PFAS, the Navy will provide alternate drinking water (typically bottled water) for these residents until an alternate long-term solution is in place.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.