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Soldiers living on Caserma Ederle have been told to drink bottled water until more tests can be conducted on the base’s water supply.

Initial tests found levels of hydrocarbons above normal levels, according to a public health advisory issued Sunday by U.S. Army Garrison-Vicenza.

"Until all the results are in, the best way to minimize any potential health risks is to temporarily switch to alternative sources for our drinking water on Caserma Ederle," Col. Virgil Williams, the garrison commander, was quoted as saying in the news release.

The garrison is providing bottled water to units on base as well as restaurants and other establishments.

Though only 1,200 servicemembers live on base, the free bottled water is available to other active-duty personnel and civilians while they’re working on base as well, according to the release.

The water on base has been judged safe for bathing and washing.

Those living at the nearby Villagio housing complex have been told that their water supplies are OK. The advisory also doesn’t carry recommendations to drink bottled water for those living off base.

It’s the second time in recent months that contaminated water has been an issue for servicemembers stationed in Italy. Coliform bacteria was found in water at some off-base housing in Naples and all personnel were advised to drink and cook with bottled water.

Ederle officials said late Monday that the water was tested in Vicenza after officials had replaced a water pump.

The 31st Bioenvironmental Flight tests the water at Aviano Air Base every week and no problems have been found recently, according to 1st Lt. Kimberly Schaerdel, chief of public affairs for the 31st Fighter Wing.

But the base has had some issues with water contamination in the past.

Joyce Costello, a public affairs officer for U.S. Army Garrison-Livorno, said Camp Darby’s water had been recently tested and was OK.

Water samples from Vicenza will be tested by an Italian laboratory as well as the U.S. Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, with the results expected in about a week.

The release said that no one had appeared to get sick from drinking the contaminated water. Symptoms include stomach aches and diarrhea, but the base clinic hasn’t reported any increases in patients with those ailments.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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