WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) – Reports of contaminated water at military bases is raising concerns about the safety of servicemembers and their families.
“It really opens up the question of to what levels has the [Department of Defense] taken to address these contaminated waters,” David Andrews, with the Environmental Working Group, said.
Defense officials say firefighting foam used on military bases leaked into water systems.
That caused potentially harmful levels of compounds linked to cancer and other health issues.
“Our first priority right now is making sure folks are drinking some good water, clean water,” Andrews said.
Lucian Niemeyer, a spokesperson for DoD environmental issues, said the agency is working to fix the water problem.
“We quickly moved to either separate or stop that water system to provide bottled water or install filters to correct the problem,” Niemeyer said.
Pentagon officials said the drinking water issues have been addressed and they are now working with members of Congress on making sure the groundwater is safe.
“We want all our military members to be protected,” Rep. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina, said.
Congressman Walter Jones calls contaminated water an ongoing issue in North Carolina and other states. He wants to focus on long-term solutions, not temporary changes.
“I am encouraged but would also like to have a briefing on the whole problem and to see how much progress has been made,” Jones said.
Federal officials will continue to monitor water levels to determine if they meet safety standards.
Andrews hopes those efforts are enough to keep servicemembers and the public safe.
Pentagon officials said they are still assessing the cost but they plan to shift money from other defense programs to help clean up the contaminated water sites.
Sheppard Air Force Base and Fort Sill aren’t on the list of installations with contaminated water, but 11 of 12 wells at Altus Air Force Base tested positive for the presence of perfluorinated compounds.
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