Water contamination causes questions for private wells nearby

Water contamination causes questions for private wells nearby

Following an announcement from Fairchild Air Force Base that several private and city-owned wells were contaminated, some who live near the affected areas were left wondering: Are these chemicals also in my water?

PFOS and PFOA are chemicals in the fire retardant used at FAFB beginning in the 1970s. Two years ago, they stopped using the retardant as a training agent, switching to water instead.

Cynthia Powers lives about ten miles northwest of FAFB and Airway Heights.

“I think my concern is that along with my other neighbors I’ve talked to is that, if the water is contaminated, can we find out,” she said.

Powers was told she lives outside the affected area, but she’s worried the PFOS and PFOA that FAFB found in some Airway Heights wells could be in hers, too.

“My concern is, how it’s not the affected area if they haven’t tested the wells,” Powers said.

She and many other people in this area of the West Plains are on private wells.

“I try to find out if it’s contaminated, they want each of us to pay $300 to have our well checked. I don’t know why they can’t do that if it’s a big concern if it’s something they’ve caused,” she said.  

Fairchild’s Public Affairs Office told KXLY that -right now– they don’t have reason to believe the contamination affects areas to the North or West of the base. After studying hydrogeological assessments and surface water flows, FAFB believes the contamination would only affect areas to the south and east of the installation.

But Powers wants to know for sure if the water is safe here, for her and her animals.

“We need to know, if someone, whoever is the cause of this, Fairchild, or for whatever, please just step up and get our wells tested so we know and have a piece of mind and can go from there,” she said.

For more information on private well testing, contact the FAFB public affairs office or the Regional Health District.