Cheney Free Press -

By AL STOVER
Staff Reporter 

Six wells still contain chemicals

Airway Heights to continue flushing municipal system

 

Last updated 6/1/2017 at 9:41am

Al Stover

City of Airway Heights and Fairchild Air Force Base personnel (pictured above) will continue to hand out bottled water as the city flushes its water system of perfluoro contaminants.

After the first round of flushing its water system, six of Airway Heights' wells are still over the Environmental Protection Agenciy's perfluoro chemicals advisory levels of 70 parts per trillion. The good news is flushing the system, which used over 15 million gallons of water, seems to be working.

In a May 26 news release, the city announced it had received test results from Anatek Labs that afternoon. Of the 17 samples that were taken from different sources throughout the water system, 11 came back with non-detect levels of contamination. The six test samples that had perfluoro chemicals contamination ranged from 82-857 parts per trillion.

"We're getting there," Public Works Director Kevin Anderson said. "We're trying to get as low numbers (of contamination) as possible."

On May 16, the city announced that two of its wells tested over 70 parts per trillion for contamination by two perfluoro chemicals. In 2016, the EPA updated its health advisory levels for the chemical concentration to 70 parts per trillion.

The contaminated wells have not been used since May 16, and the city has restricted residents and businesses from using the water for consumption or cooking - however it is safe for other activities such as irrigation and cleaning. Residents who live east of Hayford Road are not affected by the restriction or chemical contamination.

The city continued to flush water out of its system through Memorial Day weekend. Staff gathered another set of samples and sent them to Anatek Labs and will hopefully get them by the end of the week.

"Lab results like these do not normally have a quick turnaround and the laboratory has bent over backwards to get them back to us," Anderson said.

The city will not lift its water restrictions until all of the tested samples show the city's water is below contamination advisory levels. Anderson said once the city has the latest test results, regardless of the outcome, it will release the information to the public.

Airway Heights staff and Fairchild Air Force Base airmen will continue to provide water for residents on 17th Avenue behind Yoke's Fresh Market. Both the fire and police departments will continue to deliver water to residents who cannot travel to the distribution area.

In an email, Airway Heights Fire Chief Mitch Metzger wrote that over 99,302 gallons of water have been distributed. The city anticipates the water distribution could last through Friday, June 2.

Al Stover can be reached at al@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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