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Sen. Cantwell secures additional funds for Fairchild cleanup

UPDATED: Sun., Sept. 17, 2017, 9:04 p.m.

Airway Heights crews flush contaminated water from a fire hydrant into Aspen Grove Park on May 19, 2017. The city learned its water was contaminated after Fairchild Air Force Base revealed it had leaked untold amounts of toxic fire retardant. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Airway Heights crews flush contaminated water from a fire hydrant into Aspen Grove Park on May 19, 2017. The city learned its water was contaminated after Fairchild Air Force Base revealed it had leaked untold amounts of toxic fire retardant. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

A provision to the Department of Defense’s future budget could see more funds flow to local communities whose water supplies have been affected by contaminants from Fairchild Air Force Base.

The office of Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., released a statement last week saying that, with bipartisan support, the senator had secured an additional $62 million for communities in proximity to the base.

The funds come through a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, the law specifying the budget and expenditures of the Department of Defense.

“This important funding is one … solution and will move us towards clean groundwater in communities close to the affected military facilities,” Sen. Cantwell said in the release.

Earlier this year, wells were discovered to be contaminated with chemicals used by the base in firefighting foams. Those chemicals have been linked to developmental damage, certain cancers and immune system dysfunction.

Sens. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Bob Casey, D-Pa., were co-sponsors of the provision.