Navy warns Howell well water could be contaminated with chemicals

Officials warn that well water in Howell Township may be contaminated with potentially hazardous chemicals.

The Navy warns that Howell well water could be contaminated with chemicals from Earle Weapons Station.

The Navy warns that Howell well water could be contaminated with chemicals from Earle Weapons Station. (2/19/16)

HOWELL - Officials warn that well water in Howell Township may be contaminated with potentially hazardous chemicals.

A Navy spokesperson tells News 12 New Jersey that homes within a half-mile of Earle Weapons Station could be at risk for contamination of perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs. The chemicals are in firefighting foam that was once used at Earle.  The Navy is now asking residents to voluntarily test their well water. 

The spokesperson says testing is being done "out of an abundance of caution in order to ensure the safety of our neighbors."

About 60 properties, residential and commercial could be affected. Homeowner Thomas Baehny says that he is concerned about the quality of his tap. He says that he and his wife drink only bottled water, but use the well water for everything else, including bathing.

“I had it tested years ago and it had iron in it, but I didn't have it tested for all the chemicals so I really don't know,” Baehny says.

Experts say that the long-term impact from PFC exposure is unclear, but may be linked to autoimmune and kidney problems. Health experts are also testing possible links to PFC exposure and testicular and kidney cancer.  

Howell resident Carla Settineri tells News 12 New Jersey that she is happy she doesn't use her well at all.

“We've always used bottled water,” she says.

If tests reveal chemical contamination in wells, the Navy says it will provide bottled water for all residents affected until there's a long-term solution.

Test results are expected to be back by the end of February.

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