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Private well owners near Fairchild still drinking bottled water, searching for answers

Private well-owners near Fairchild...

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. - Some residents are frustrated over the lack of answers about the water contamination in Airway Heights.

Julie Dibble says when she found out about the chemicals PFOS and PFOA in her water, she trusted that Fairchild Air Force Base would get it cleared up quickly. She says initially she wasn't even mad. 

But now almost a year since the base first found out its own water supply was contaminated with the pair of chemicals, and almost seven since it tested private wells around them, her patience has worn thin and she's not happy. 

"They are not talking to us and we haven't seen them in months," said Dibble. "Why aren't they communicating with each one of us one-on-one."

She says her family has a long history serving the United State of America in the armed forces and is in no way anti-Air Force. 

But after months of her family getting its water supply delivered in jugs courtesy of the Air Force, she says she's had enough. 

"I feel like we are numbers on a map," she said. "Why don't we know what's going on, why don't when know or have the plan for the future, why don't we have filters that were promised?"

She says last time the base came out to test the water, her PFOS and PFOA levels were found to be 81 times the EPA health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion. 

Down the road, Jaci Callender has her own questions for the base. Her home is within eyesight of the base and last time her well was tested it was 65 times the health advisory. 

"Are they going to do anything about my land," said Callender. "I have 20 acres that I can't foresee using."

She says her family poured its life savings in their homestead four years ago so that they could earn a little money farming and support themselves at the same time. 

"This all concerns and frustrates me, because we have no idea how this is going to end. Just giving us drinking water isn't enough," she said. 

She said their plan for the property had to been to grow a garden and raise chickens and other animals. 

"We threw out everything that we had preserved from the year before, just threw it out," she said, they didn't want to take the risk with the chemicals. 

Meantime she says they have a flock of 20 chickens who's eggs the can't eat. 

"I would just like to know why it is taking so long, and why nothing was done sooner," said Callender. "Other bases have had this happen, why at that point did they not go around and test everyone around the bases."

KXLY reached out to Fairchild Air Force Base, they provided this statement:

"We provide residents with PFOS/PFOA updates as soon as we receive them from the Air Force Civil Engineer Center. We understand the community's frustration with the testing process, but AFCEC has continued to test and review data since this spring and will continue to expand testing until the full scope of the affected area is known, not just here, but at more than 200 Air Force installations across the nation. If you want to see where we're testing, past and present press releases, or want to learn more about PFOS/PFOA, please visit our website at www.fairchild.af.mil, or call our Public Affairs office at 509-247-5705."
 


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