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Navy conducts meeting seeking to sample water wells around local bases

Posted at 3:34 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 20:50:18-05

KINGSVILLE, Texas — Some ground water testing happened around NAS Corpus Christi in December.

It was part of an investigation to determine if so-called "forever chemicals" used on-base decades ago have seeped into the water in the Flour Bluff area.

Now, the Navy is testing private water wells for chemicals collectively referred to as PSAF.

James Spalding with the Navy Facilities Engineering Command Southeast, explains that The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established health advisories for two of the chemicals in the PSAF family.

"And the two that we focus on for the drinking water, because it's the EPA's limit, is based on PFOA and PFOS."

Those chemicals are found in a firefighting foam used on military bases including NAS Kingsville, NAS Corpus Christi and Waldron field.

"There's a Navy policy to address the firefighting training areas and the release of AFFF which is Aqueous Film Filming Foam, or what we call it, firefighting foam," he said. "And its release into the environment and how it affects our neighbors.”

That firefighting foam is no longer used on military bases for training; only in the case of an emergency.

Residents in Kingsville had the chance Thursday night to hear from the several government agencies on the testing and sign up to submit their own water samples.

Alfonso Ramos has lived just outside the Kingsville city limits without access to city water for 13 years.

Ramos buys drinking water but says he uses his private water well for bathing, lawn care and animals.

"When I used to have the horses, that's what they drank." Ramos said. "Every rancher around here uses them."

What could be inside of that water is now the topic of a national study conducted by the Department of Defense.

In fact, last year the Secretary of Defense created a task force to proactively address issues surrounding the chemicals.

In Kingsville, a notice informing residents of an open house was recently sent out. The Navy is hoping to have locals provide water samples from private water wells within a one mile radius of base.

Right now, there are no indications that chemicals are contaminating the water but if the levels are above a certain amount, the Navy will provide drinking water for those families until they find a long term solution.

“The solution is dependent on each family, each property, and each specific situation." Spalding said. “We would determine that with the family.”

Ramos hopes providing city water might be a long term solution.

"I would like for the city or the naval air station to bring it out.” Ramos said. “I would use it. I would buy it.”

Spalding says after the samples are tested, results usually take about two months.

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