NAPLES, Italy — The testing of water in 11 American-leased homes in Casal di Principe is taking longer than expected, the Navy said Friday.

The Navy decided to test the homes in early October after water samples from three other houses in the area were found to be contaminated with volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. The Navy thought the results of the testing of the 11 homes would take seven to 10 days.

"Not all the results are back yet, but we expect them very soon," said Cmdr. Jeff McAtee, spokesman for the Naples public health evaluation.

In mid-September, water samples from three homes in the area indicated the presence of VOCs, usually by-products of industrial cleaning solvents. Though the VOC levels found were very small and only posed long-term exposure risk, the Navy required those families to move because the chemicals are hazardous to inhale, according to Paul Gillooly from the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center in Virginia, who is heading up the public health assessment under way in Naples.

The additional 11 homes that were tested were within a 500-foot radius of the three homes that tested positive for the contaminants. Two more homes in the area were supposed to be tested, but the American families living in them left before the testing took place.

The water testing is part of a larger health assessment launched in February to determine if the decades-long trash crisis in Naples — which resulted in illegal burning and dumping — is hazardous to one’s health.

Results of Phase I of that assessment were expected this month, but the Navy now says it’s unsure when those results will be available.

"Sampling evaluation at the lab has taken longer than expected, pushing back the November target date for the Phase I final report," McAtee said. "It’s important to remember this is the first time we’ve undertaken this type of comprehensive evaluation and there have been many complex processes to work out.

"Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center and their associates are working as quickly as possible to process the information."

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