Nearly 400 military bases must be tested for drinking water contamination — and it will take years
Nearly 400 military bases must be tested for drinking water contamination — and it will take years.
The Air Force, for instance, has completed sampling at nearly all of its targeted bases; the Navy, barely 10 percent.
But with so many sites to evaluate, the cleanup "is not super-simple to do," said Mark Correll, a high-ranking Air Force official.
Research on other potential health effects is ongoing, and some experts contend even water below the EPA’s health advisory level is unsafe.
So far, water in only three wells there has been found to be contaminated above the level the EPA says is safe.
In Newburgh, N.Y., where drinking water was tainted by the foam used at an Air National Guard base, officials are pressing the military to pay for connecting city residents to a new clean water source.
Officials then started paying more attention to the chemicals as the EPA began focusing on them, said Correll, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for the environment, safety, and infrastructure.
“Once we’ve assured that … you’re talking eight years to get yourself to a remediation solution.” Navy officials established a policy for the testing and cleanup last June, a month after the EPA released new guidelines, and have completed sampling at 11 of 127 bases.
He said it was “hard to say” what bases would be tested next because officials did not want to alarm residents before notification or sampling began.
The Army will follow the same process as the Navy and Air Force, a spokesman said, but inspections at 61 bases have not yet begun.