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NEX employees load cases of water into vehicles of eligible personnel who live off base in Naples, Italy. The Navy is giving the water away to offset any potential health risks associated with some water systems in off-base housing. Recent testing indicated excessive levels of bacteria and other contaminants in some off-base homes.

NEX employees load cases of water into vehicles of eligible personnel who live off base in Naples, Italy. The Navy is giving the water away to offset any potential health risks associated with some water systems in off-base housing. Recent testing indicated excessive levels of bacteria and other contaminants in some off-base homes. (Photo by Lisa Novak/S&S)

NEX employees load cases of water into vehicles of eligible personnel who live off base in Naples, Italy. The Navy is giving the water away to offset any potential health risks associated with some water systems in off-base housing. Recent testing indicated excessive levels of bacteria and other contaminants in some off-base homes.

NEX employees load cases of water into vehicles of eligible personnel who live off base in Naples, Italy. The Navy is giving the water away to offset any potential health risks associated with some water systems in off-base housing. Recent testing indicated excessive levels of bacteria and other contaminants in some off-base homes. (Photo by Lisa Novak/S&S)

A worker unloads pallets of water on the first day of the Navy’s water distribution program.

A worker unloads pallets of water on the first day of the Navy’s water distribution program. (Photo by Lisa Novak/S&S)

NAPLES, Italy — The Navy began handing out bottled water Monday to military and civilian employees living off base in the Naples area. Each person is entitled to four free liters of water per day and can draw up to a 10-day supply.

"This is great," said Petty Officer 1st Class Greg Williams, who picked up his free water Monday afternoon. "I’ve been buying about 10 liters per week, and I have a family of five."

Under the program Williams and his family, who live in Casal di Principe, are now eligible for a lot more.

Casal di Principe is one of the areas where recent testing by the Navy turned up bacterial and chemical contaminants in homes supplied by well water. Last week, the commander of Naval Support Activity Naples placed a moratorium on all new lease signings for houses serviced by well water until testing and health certifications were done.

The request to purchase the water was submitted by Navy Region Europe to Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter earlier this month.

The Navy Exchange in Naples purchased the water in August in anticipation of the plan’s approval. Navy officials said they were authorized to purchase $144,000 worth of water.

To get the water, recipients must be registered in the housing database. When residents drive to the distribution point, they have to provide identification and have their name checked against the list.

The Navy is completing the first phase of air, soil and water testing at 166 off-base houses. The sample represents slightly more than 10 percent of all homes leased by Americans in the Naples area from Italian landlords.

"Since the water in about one-third of the (off-base) homes we tested had bacteria exceedences, leadership decided that bottled water would be a precautionary measure until the health assessment was completed," said Navy spokeswoman Lt.Cmdr. Wendy Snyder.

The results of Phase I of the study, which began in January, are due out in November. For now, the Navy has advised all off-base residents to use bottled water for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth and making ice.


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