WASHINTON, D.C. (WSAV) – The EPA tried to halt the publication of a study of water contamination at more than 120 military bases. The report shows potentially harmful levels of chemicals linked to cancers and harmful elements for fetuses and infants. The Department of Defense says it’s fixing the problem.
But, some lawmakers and environmentalists are still concerned reports of contaminated water at military bases nationwide is raising concerns about the safety of service members and their families.
David Andrews, of Environmental Working Group said, “It really opens up the question of to what levels has the DOD taken to address these contaminated waters.”
Defense officials say fire-fighting 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”
Lucian Niemeyer, a spokesperson for DOD environmental issues, says 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”
The EPA is examining contamination levels and reports reveal administration officials worry a yet-to-be -released study could find the issue is worse than they first believed.
And Pentagon officials said the drinking water issues have been addressed. They are now working with members of Congress on making sure the groundwater is safe.
Congressman Walter Jones of NC said, “It’s very disturbing. We want all our military members to be protected.”
Congressman Jones calls contaminated water an ongoing issue in North Carolina and other states. He wants to focus on long-term solutions not temporary changes.
“Im am encouraged but would also like to have a briefing on the whole problem and to see how much progress has been made.”
Federal officials 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 added they are still assessing the cost but they plan to shift money from other defense programs to help clean up the contaminated water sites.