Navy proposes water pipeline for Chesapeake well contamination near Fentress Air Field

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – The U.S. Navy unveiled proposed solutions to give Chesapeake residents living near Fentress Air Field safe drinking water.

The Navy has been providing free bottled water to affected residents for a couple of years.

This comes after it discovered chemicals in military firefighting foam contaminated the local water.

It could still be a while before the affected residents can drink their own water, but there are a few solutions on the table and officials want to hear from the community before a decision is made.

U.S. Navy officials said there are three solutions proposed to help residents affected by the PFAS (poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances) contamination near Fentress. 

One: The Navy could continue to provide bottled water for residents who have PFAS levels higher than the EPA’s health standards.

Dozens of private water wells were tested and six properties had PFAS levels above standard. The Navy has been supplying bottled water since the contamination was first detected.

Two: Officials could treat the water using reverse osmosis or filters.

Three:  The City of Chesapeake could run a water pipeline out to the affected residents.

“We want to be good neighbors to the residents of the city of Chesapeake so regardless of what the cost is, we want to be good neighbors and good stewards of the environment,” said Capt. Chad Vincelatte, Commanding Officer for Naval Air Station Oceana.

The pipeline is the recommended solution, and it would be installed by Mount Pleasant Road.

“If we were to close that thing to lay a pipe, traffic all over the region of the south side would be awful so we’ll be laying it beside the road,” said David Jurgens, Director of Public Utilities for the City of Chesapeake.

Current city ordinances require residents to hook up to a city water line if one is available but that won’t be the case for affected residents.

“That way it’s available but not mandatory so residents have the choice,” Jurgens said.

“If those residents are above the lifetime health advisory, the Navy will pay to connect them to that city water system,” Vincelatte said.

If a pipeline is what’s decided, it will take an estimated three years.

Residents 10 On Your Side spoke with say they’re happy with the proposed solutions.

“This is the second meeting I’ve come to, I think they’re doing their best to inform and there are plenty of people there that were informed to answer questions,” Becky Woodall said.

If a pipeline is installed, the Navy would be funding the project so there would be no rate increase to water.

A public comment period is open through November 7. If you’re interested in leaving a comment, you can email angela.jones1@nayvy.mil or send one by mail to:

NAVFAC MIDLANT
Attn: Angela Jones/EV33
9742 Maryland Ave.
Bldg N-26 Room 3303
Norfolk, VA 23511

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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