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Concerns addressed as Navy tests water for contaminants

Navy looking for chemicals from firefighting foam possibly in groundwater

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the Navy tests water wells for possible containments in and around Naval Air Station Jacksonville, representatives held an open house Thursday to address the concerns of residents.

Some signed up to have their water tested during the meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott in Orange Park. In addition to members of the Navy, residents could speak with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, JEA and the Florida Department of Health.

The Navy is currently testing drinking water wells within identified areas in and around NAS Jacksonville at no cost. It's testing for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

PFAS is an ingredient used in the manufacture of Aqueous Film Forming Foam, a firefighting foam used at the base. Studies have shown the chemical could cause cancer or other illnesses.

There is currently no legal requirement to test for this substance, but the Navy is said it is being proactive and wants to "ensure the safety and well being of our neighbors."

In June 2016, the Navy issued a policy to identify areas of potential release of these materials to the environment. 

The Navy will provide alternate drinking water (typically bottled water) for residents if their drinking water concentrations exceed the EPA lifetime health advisory levels for PFOA and/or PFOS.  

Information published in a DoD report shows PFC compounds were found or detected in shallow groundwater-monitoring wells at NAS Jacksonville. No surface water or shallow groundwater is used as a drinking water source.

Investigators explained that the Navy has already tested water at NAS Jacksonville and the city's water supply which did not show the presence of the chemicals. 

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