Navy testing wells on Whidbey Island for possible contamination

by Mitch Pittman, originally posted on November 12, 2016


WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. – The Navy is testing wells on Whidbey Island to see if toxic chemicals might have seeped into the drinking water.

The Navy said it’s unlikely the levels are unsafe, but that’s little consolation to those who live nearby.

 “Now we’re hearing that it could also be out water table,” said Whidbey Island resident Robbie Lobell. “It’s frightening, it’s disheartening, and we’re angered by it.”

Lobell moved to the island for peace and nature. But she’s worried her drinking water could be contaminated by chemicals used at the Naval Air Base down the street from her.

In June, the Navy announced they would be testing sites across the country for chemicals called Perfluoroalkyl Substances or PFAS. The PFAS were recently identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as potentially toxic.

Navy document show there are 13 possible sites in Washington between Naval Air Station Whidbey and Naval Base Kitsap. Two of them are right near Lobell.

“We believe that not only are we in danger, but our property values are going to go down,” said Lobell.

The Navy said it already started testing on installations where there were high concentrations of the chemical at Ault Field in Oak Harbor in non-drinking water. Tests where Lobell lives show only trace amounts.

“We need to have our well tested and it it’s a bad test, what do we do? I have no idea,” said Lobell.

Navy officials say they will start testing public wells within a one-mile radius of the base soon, including four wells used by the city of Coupeville itself.

The Navy is holding public meetings in Coupeville November 21 and 22, and another will be held in Oak Harbor.

The Navy said if high levels are found, they will provide bottled water until a permanent fix is in place.

Learn More