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Military providing water to Yakima Valley homes after tests show it contaminated area's wells

Military training exercises contaminated the drinking water of nearly 100 homes in the Yakima Valley.

New test results show that the drinking water wells near the Army’s Yakima Training Center are contaminated with chemicals that increase the risks of certain kinds of cancer and other health conditions. The military is now providing bottled water for drinking and cooking to those residences.

The contamination stems from a firefighting foam that the military used at the training center for decades, up until 2016. The foam contained dangerous chemicals that increase the risks of certain kinds of cancer, thyroid disease, and other health conditions. The chemicals can also harm people’s immune systems.

Over the years, the chemicals leached into drinking water near military bases around the United States, including on Whidbey Island and in the Yakima Valley.

While the military tested the wells it might have contaminated, it did not previously provide safe drinking water to affected households. Now that the test results are back for Yakima, the military has begun providing residents enough bottled water for drinking and cooking.