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NAPLES, Italy — Jim Dickinson would like to know what bacteria, if any, his son might be consuming, and how bad it is for his health.

Five days after cautioning Naples area residents of the presence of bacteria in some samples taken of the drinking water, Navy officials still had not provided any detailed information, to include the type of bacteria or if consumption is problematic to one’s health.

Dickinson’s home is serviced by well water.

"[The waiting] is frustrating because I’m a Casal [di Principe] resident, and I would like to know," Dickinson said. "That would be nice. My son drinks the water from the tap, even though I tell him not to."

Navy and health officials are finalizing a report on bacteria in drinking water and possible associated health problems, which should be posted Thursday on the Navy’s Web site, said Lt. Cmdr. Wendy Snyder, a spokeswoman with Navy Region Europe.

Preliminary results of a recent survey showed that tap water in 29 of 107 houses tested positive for bacteria levels exceeding the maximum contaminant levels allowed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to information the Navy posted Friday on its health awareness Web site.

Thursday’s report should appear in the "fact sheet" section of the Web site, http://www.nsa.naples.navy.mil/risk, under the title: "Tap water warning notifications," Snyder said.

"The information will tell them what is bacteria, what it means to you, and how to mitigate" complications, such as drinking bottled water, Snyder said.

The Navy is posting information as it gets it, she said.

"We want to keep people posted as we’re going along. … This is a very tedious, time-consuming and complex process. There is no other way to explain it," Snyder said. "It takes more than one expert to look at this. There are many sets of eyes to analyze everything."

So far, homes in Casal di Principe, Caserta, Pozzuoli and Villa Literno have been tested. Most of the 29 homes whose water had high bacteria levels use well water.

The Web posting contained no details, such as the kind or kinds of bacteria and how many if there are more than one, what the maximum contaminant levels are, by how much the testing results exceeded the EPA allowable levels, and what might be the health implications or effects due to exposure or consumption of the bacteria.

The Navy cautioned anyone who lives off base in the Naples and Caserta regions to avoid drinking, cooking or brushing their teeth with tap water because of high levels of bacteria found in a recent round of testing.

The water supply on Navy’s support site and on the Capodichino base are safe to drink and to use for cooking, officials said.

Hospital officials have not seen any increase in cases that would be correlated to drinking contaminated water, Snyder said.

Tell us

Past or present Naples area residents, have you been notified by the Navy that your water or soil might be contaminated? If so, we’d like to hear from you. Contact Sandra Jontz at jontzs@estripes.osd.mil or 081-568-5158; or Lisa Novak at novakl@estripes.osd.mil or 081-568-5157.


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