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Chemical Contamination Found in Airway Heights Water

Photo courtesy of Steve Johnson via Flickr

Airway Heights residents are being cautioned not to drink from the city’s water supply, due to chemical contamination.

City residents who live west of Hayford Road are being asked to refrain from consuming any city water, after two chemicals that may have originated at Fairchild Air Force Base were found in four city wells at a level above 70 parts per trillion.

The chemicals are believed to have come from fire extinguishing foam the Air Force used for several years, but city manager Albert Tripp says that has not been proven conclusively and some research indicates the chemicals could have a negative health impact. Trip said,  “Some of the research I’ve seen suggests suppressed immunity, as it relates to children who have received booster shots, but there is very little consistency in the data being able to correlate one finding to the other.”

The city has shut off the supply from those four wells and is flushing out the water system the four contaminated wells feed into.  Trip says it will take until at least Thursday to complete that clean out. In the meantime, the city is supplementing their supply with a feed line from the Spokane aquifer that is often used in the summer months.

Trip says they have a long term plan to deal with the contaminated wells, “We have a plan that involves brining in treatment systems, so well move into that once we transition out of the short term plan were in right now.”

Tripp says at this point it is uncertain what the cost of such treatment might be.

Bottled water will be available for pick up until 10:00 pm Wednesday night and will commence again at 7:00 am Thursday morning. The location is 12825 W 17th in Airway Heights.

If you need the water delivered due to not being able to get to the water location please contact 211 for coordination.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.