Navy testing wells in Mayport & Whitehouse areas for contaminants

Cancer-causing contaminants from firefighting foam may have ended up in wells

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Navy is concerned about possible contaminants that may have seeped into the ground and ended up in private drinking water wells around Naval Station Mayport and Outlying Landing Field Whitehouse.

As a proactive measure, the Navy plans to sample water from private drinking wells around the base near Mayport Road and Wonderwood Drive, and around OLF Whitehouse near Halsema and Old Plank roads. The Navy intends to test for the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), an ingredient used in the manufacture of Aqueous Film Forming Foam, which is a firefighting foam used at the base. Studies have shown the chemical could cause cancer or other illnesses.

Caroline Watson, a Mayport resident, told News4Jax she's concerned to have well water that could be potentially affected.

"Well, I have enough health problems without adding to them," said Watson, who lives in the Oaks of Atlantic Beach neighborhood off Wonderwood Drive.

The Navy wants to test the private wells in the highlighted areas seen in the maps linked below for two PFAS -- perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

MAPS: Designated private well sampling area near Naval Station Mayport | Designated private well sampling area near OLF Whitehouse
FACT SHEETS: Naval Station Mayport drinking water investigation | OLF Whitehouse drinking water investigation

In August, the Navy tested private wells near Naval Air Station Jacksonville due to the same concern. Samples were taken from 19 private drinking wells and the results showed the water in that area was safe to drink.

The Navy said it will be providing bottled cooking and drinking water to residents in the areas should PFAS be detected in their well water. It also said it would do that until a long-term solution is implemented.

The Navy said it will host open houses to discuss drinking water testing and for residents to learn about its investigation. Experts will also be there to answer questions. The Naval Station Mayport open house will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 27 at Mayport Middle School on Mayport Road. The OLF Whitehouse open house will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at Whitehouse Elementary School on General Avenue. 

Possible health effects of PFAS

About the Author: