After weeks of flushing the system, the City of Airway Heights announced on Thursday that the water is now safe to drink.
Residents were without potable water for weeks after contaminants were found in the supply. The city had been flushing the system ever since, but during that time the water reaching homes and businesses was still unfit for drinking.
On Thursday, officials say 20 of 21 samples came back with acceptable levels. The one sample that was above the acceptable range of contaminants has been isolated from the supply, and the remaining water is now safe to drink.
Fairchild Air Force Base released the following statement:
City of Airway Heights officials announced this afternoon that a 24-day long advisory not to consume tap water from the city’s municipal water system has been lifted. The Air Force will discontinue delivery of bottled water to affected residents of the city of Airway Heights at 10:00 p.m. tonight. Fairchild AFB, the City of Airway Heights and other donors from throughout the region provided more than 125,000 gallons of water to city residents after the drinking water advisory was issued May 16 by city officials out of an abundance of caution when preliminary results of sampling conducted by Fairchild AFB indicated wells that supply the Airway Heights water system indicated Perfluorooctanesulfonic (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acids (PFOA) concentrations above the EPA’s lifetime Health Advisory levels.
“We refused to wait for the conclusion of a full site investigation before doing what we could to find immediate solutions to ensure the health and wellbeing of our families, neighbors and community members,” said Col. Ryan Samuelson, Fairchild Air Force Base commander. “As soon as we had actionable information, we acted, and will continue to do so in cooperation with our local and regional partners. We'll take whatever immediate actions are necessary and feasible as we continue to investigate the extent of the PFOS/PFOA contamination and how both military and non-military sources may have contributed to this issue over the years."
The Air Force will continue to provide bottled water to private well owners whose wells have been sampled by the Air Force and are above the EPA’s lifetime HA levels for PFOS/PFOA until a long-term solution is implemented.
"Our support to our affected private well owners does not stop, nor does our continued look at what other private wells may need to be tested in coordination with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center,” Samuelson stated. “We will continue to provide clean drinking water to affected well owners until a long-term solution is identified and implemented. Our AFCEC team met with all affected well owners last week to discuss individual solutions."
(story and photo: KHQ.com)