Officials were confident today the water ban would be lifted in Airway Heights. Unfortunately the latest batch of tests showed otherwise.
Flushing 25 million gallons of water from the system was not enough to lift the ban on drinking water in Airway Heights. Of the 20 samples taken at the end of last week, 15 detected no contaminants, while 4 were above the health advisory ranging from 85 parts per trillion to 141 parts per trillion.
Airway Heights fire chief Mitch Metzger said, “that means is our flushing program has been working but we have to continue to do more flushing.”
The improvement though is doing little to calm residents fears. With each passing day they are growing more concerned about their future in Airway Heights.
Resident Mary Thomas said, “ it makes you wonder about staying in this area to live in Airway Heights with the water problem.”
And how this has effected their health.
“It's getting frustrating; especially with how long we've lived here. I've been here over 14 ½ years and i'm concerned with the long term effects of this,” added resident Jamie Murray.
The law firm of Paukert and Troppman PLLC recently filed a federal tort claim on behalf of one client who has property damaged by the pollution and have been fielding more than a dozen calls from people with serious health issues that they can almost directly trace to the water in Airway Heights.
Andrew Biviano of Peukert and Troppman PLLC said, “people who have lived there for a long time and never known why they got sick so much, why there is fertility problems; these are all really serious things we're looking at and its going to take some investigation to connect those, but on the surface it's a lot to be worried about.”
They are working hard to untangle the facts of who knew what and when they knew it and what kind of warnings were given.
He adds, “transparency goes hand and hand with accountability, and people who suffered because of this through no fault of their own, deserve compensation for being damaged without doing any wrong.”
Fairchild's Wing Commander Colonel Ryan Samuelson gave us a statement this afternoon that says:
"We understand the concerns that affected community members have and we've provided information necessary for them to file claims. The property and personal injury claims that Fairchild AFB has received, and any future claims the installation may receive related to the PFOS PFOA matter will be forwarded to the air force legal operations agency in accordance with air force policy."
The plan going forward is to flush the system all weekend, collect samples Monday morning and hopefully be able to lift the ban by Wednesday when results are due back.