ATLANTIC, N.C. (WNCT) — Naval tests have found chemicals with the potential to cause cancer in local drinking water.
The EPA recommends no more than seventy parts-per-trillion of two chemicals that are known to cause cancer to be present in drinking water. Last year, the Navy tested 258 wells near the Atlantic Airfield in Carteret County and found that two exceeded this limit.
That number was enough to cause concern for Carteret County environmentalist Larry Baldwin.
“Two out of 250-some, that’s a pretty good percentage?” said Baldwin. “No, it’s not a good percentage. Zero would be the percentage we’re looking for.”
Baldwin said he appreciates that the military is being proactive about this issue, but that he’s still concerned for county residents who may be impacted.
“The water that they’re drinking,” said Baldwin, “the water that they’re cooking with, the water that their children are drinking, you should never have to worry about whether it’s safe to drink.”
Cherry Point spokesman Mike Barton said the Navy was not required to test for the chemicals, but they are trying to protect their neighbors from the potentially deadly chemicals.
“Our goal here is to get ahead of this,” said Barton. “Make sure that the community out there is not drinking water with P-Fas in it. We want to make sure we take care of those folks because they have supported us out there for over 70 years.”
The investigation is still in preliminary stages, but Barton said the Navy began testing because the chemicals are known to be present in certain foams used to put out aircraft fires.
The Navy is now working to determine if those chemicals were ever used on Atlantic Airfield. And if so, how best to proceed with the cleanup efforts.