Study: Water in some Naples homes poses an ‘unacceptable risk’
April 24, 2009
NAPLES, Italy — The tap water in nearly one-third of the homes sampled during Phase I of the Naples health study was found to pose an "unacceptable risk" to occupants, according to an executive summary released Thursday by the Navy.
Landlords’ lack of compliance with regulations governing the use of private wells, along with "lack of enforcement by Italian regulatory agencies" were some of the causes for the contamination listed in the summary conclusions.
Last year, the Navy began a health assessment on living in Naples. Phase I of that study tested the water, soil and air around 130 off-base homes.
Of the 130 homes sampled, the tap water in more than 40 homes was deemed to pose an "unacceptable risk."
Further details regarding the samples, including the raw data, will be made available when the full report is released. That report, said to run about 3,000 pages, will be released soon, according to an all-hands e-mail sent to sailors Thursday.
Phase I of the study was carried out in various neighborhoods divided into nine areas encompassing about 395 square miles. These areas include government-leased housing complexes, a Navy satellite receiver station, the Carney Park recreational facility and the NATO base in Bagnoli.
Throughout the course of the first phase, officials turned up several samples of tap water that contained tetrachloroethene (byproducts of industrial cleaning solvents), along with fecal and total coliforms including E. coli bacteria.
Of greatest concern were the neighborhoods around Casal di Principe. While not providing full details, the summary said this area contained the "highest number of residences with unacceptable risks." Though this area and several others are now off-limits for leasing, several hundred U.S. servicemembers and civilians still live there.
As a result of the Phase 1 findings, Naples officials briefed the chief of naval operations about the need for a Defense Department-wide policy addressing overseas health issues regarding exposure to environmental conditions that can pose health risks, the summary stated.
While an exact date on the release of the full report is not available, Navy officials are planning to hold open houses on Capodichino and the support site in Gricignano on May 6 and May 7, respectively. Health experts and those working on the evaluation will be staffing various information booths to discuss the assessment with residents, and provide information and feedback on the assessment, said Cmdr. Jeff McAtee, a Navy spokesman for the health assessment.
Phase 2 of the assessment began in November. Technicians are now testing water and soil at about 200 off-base homes, as well as monitoring air quality in the nine study areas. The health evaluation is expected to be completed at the end of the year.