Local / Virginia

Navy: Drinking water at Fentress field contaminated

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — High levels of contaminants have been discovered in the drinking water at the Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress in Virginia.

Local news outlets report Capt. Lou Shager, Commanding Officer of Naval Air Station Oceana, made the announcement Wednesday morning.

Shager said test results show several types of perfluorinated compounds were discovered in the water. Officials believe the compounds got into the drinking water from a firefighting foam that has been used in training exercises at the field over the years.

The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t regulate perfluorinated compounds, but the agency is studying the contaminants to determine if regulations are needed.

“Right now, the health effects are completely unknown,” said Liz Nashold, regional environmental director for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.

The base is the only Navy installation in Hampton Roads with well water that used the foam, Nashold said.

A water sample was sent to a laboratory Dec. 30 to test for the compounds.

“We’ve gone above and beyond any requirements, any state and federal requirements, because we want to make sure we have high-quality drinking water for the sailors and civilians that are on Fentress Air Field,” Nashold said.

About 50 people currently work at the base. Navy officials are now telling workers to drink only bottled water until a permanent solution is available.

Navy officials said they’ll work with their local, state and federal officials to determine if other wells nearby were also affected.

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