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Navy testing drinking water wells around Mayport for chemical

Open house held at Mayport Middle School to address testing

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MAYPORT, Fla. – The U.S. Navy is testing drinking water wells in and around Naval Station Mayport and the Whitehouse Naval Outlying Field, working to determine if the water is contaminated.

Suzanne Greenboam is one of the residents in her Atlantic Beach neighborhood who received a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency about the testing.

"I have animals that drink the water. I'm not happy about that at all," Greenboam said. "The children, my grandkids, I've drank the water. I'm a little freaked out over it.

The Navy is testing for PFAS, which is a chemical found in the white foam that's used to douse fires.

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Greenboam and several other people attended an open house at Mayport Middle School on Tuesday to learn how the Navy and other experts are working to make sure their drinking water is safe.

The Navy found 170 private water wells in OFL Whitehouse. Officials say 65 of those wells have signed up for testing and 42 have been sampled. In Mayport, officials know of six private wells that will be tested.

It's expected to take about 30 days to get the results. The testing is no cost for residents.

"Immediately the Navy would contact the homeowner and begin providing them with bottled water for both drinking water and cooking until we can arrange a permanent solution," said Arne Olsen, the environmental program director at NAS Jacksonville. 

Greenboam said she's hoping for the best.

"I'm so happy that they're wanting to inform us," she said.

Some of the health risks that experts say people could face from the chemical include certain cancers, reproductive issues and thyroid disease.

Another meeting will be held Wednesday night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Whitehouse Elementary School.

Officials say the Navy is limiting training with the fire fighting foam and using water instead. They're also replacing the older fire fighting foam with less of the PFAS chemicals.

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