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NAPLES, Italy — Moving day is on hold for some newly arrived troops and civilians looking to live off base in Naples.

Contaminants found in water supplies of leased houses in town have prompted the base commander to place a moratorium on lease signings for houses serviced by well water.

The Navy is in the first phase of a comprehensive health assessment to determine if living in Naples is hazardous to one’s health, and the decision to delay lease signings came this week after recent testing revealed the presence of volatile organic compounds in three homes serviced by well water in Casal di Principe. Those residents are now moving into base housing at the Navy support site in Gricignano.

Additionally, nearly one-third of the 166 homes that the Navy tested in Phase I of the study had excessive amounts of bacteria, resulting in the Navy’s providing drinking water to U.S. residents in economy-based housing throughout Naples.

Distribution of that free water is set to begin next week.

"I’m taking an extra look at every house people want to go to, to make sure that we have an idea of the quality of water in that area," said Capt. Robert Rabuse, commander for NSA Naples, following a town hall meeting Thursday night.

Prospective landlords now have to produce building permits and certifications through the local municipalities that the water in their wells has been tested and is safe, Rabuse said.

After the volatile organic compounds were found, the Navy announced it would test all U.S.-leased homes within a 500-foot radius of the three homes in Casal di Principe to determine if they also have contaminated water.

"I need to know where these houses are located, and what kind of water they’re on," Rabuse said.

As residents vacate houses on the economy, officials said they will no longer be maintained in the housing database until landlords have provided the necessary documentation to prove the water supply is safe.

"We don’t want to just swap one U.S. resident for another," Rabuse said. "All landlords will have to meet the same criteria."

The NSA housing department is in the process of verifying the water source for more than 500 occupied economy homes known to be on well water.

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