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NAPLES, Italy — The U.S. Navy is making a plea for people who live off base in Naples to fill out environmental questionnaires to have their water and soil tested.

Officials sent out more than 1,800 questionnaires in May in the hope of getting enough respondents to test 130 off-base houses and another 30 houses in the government-leased parcos, officials said.

To date, they have received 300 questionnaires, but not all contain complete information and some houses don’t meet criteria. For example, apartment dwellers with no yard wouldn’t qualify to have the soil tested, said Lt. Cmdr. Wendy Snyder, a spokeswoman for Navy Region Europe.

Officials haven’t set a minimum number of questionnaires needed, but the 300 aren’t enough of a sampling pool to conduct a viable random sampling of the off-base houses, Snyder said Wednesday.

The testing is part of a larger Navy initiative started in January by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center to determine if living in Naples is a health hazard because of concerns over uncollected trash, air pollution caused by burning trash and possible soil contamination caused by illegal dumping.

Filling out a questionnaire does not mean residents will be required to move, Snyder said, clearing up a misconception.

"We thought there might be a misunderstanding by people who were filling out the questionnaires, and we want to make it clear that it doesn’t mean they will have to move, or that their house might even be tested," Snyder said. "The purpose is to get a good representation of the homes in the area."

Experts recently completed a testing "dry run" in the surrounding towns of Aversa, Bacoli, Casal di Principe, Gricignano, Varcaturo and Villa Literno. Results should be available next week, Snyder said.

Despite the low number of completed questionnaires, experts now are contacting residents whose houses meet criteria — such as location — to start scheduling tests, Snyder said.

The questionnaires can be downloaded from the Internet at: www.nsa.naples.navy.mil/risk/docs/Questionnaire.pdf. Completed ones should be dropped off in one of several green collection mailboxes set up around the bases, including post offices, the Navy Exchange and commissary.


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