Residents near former Reese Air Force base still dealing with contaminated water

KAMC News

It’s been almost a year since we first told you residents near the former Reese Air Force base had contaminated water. We learned it’s still a problem residents are dealing with more than nine months later. 

The Air Force found 191 contaminated wells in a standard search early in 2017. The drinking water was contaminated with chemicals used for putting out fires.

“Lot of investigation to do and a lot of clean up to do,” said Paul Carroll, Air Force program manager at the former base. “The actual cleanup of the ground water is going to take a long time.”

The Air Force has been delivering bottled water to residents to drink, cook and even brush their teeth with. It’s also almost finished installing nearly 200 water filter systems. Those systems allow residents to get clean drinking water from their taps. 

“I know it’s been an inconvenience to them,” Carroll said. “We’re trying our best to get these systems installed as quickly as we can so they can go about their normal lives at home.”

The clean-up project doesn’t come without a price tag. It’s costing the Air Force more than $8 million in taxpayer money. 

However, residents aren’t just concerned with the inconvenience of the contaminated water, but also the health concerns.

“We do get a lot of questions from people concerning their health,” Carroll said. 

It’s not completely known what the side effects could be to drinking this contaminated water over an extended amount of time. But on the EPA website, it does warn about possible side effects. 

“We will be here as long as it takes that everyone is drinking safe drinking water, and we will look toward long-term solutions for safe drinking water,” he said. 

The AIr Force believes it has found all the unsafe drinking water. If you live nearby and want to get your well system checked for contamination, the Air Force said to contact them.

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