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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Airway Heights expects to finish flushing contaminated water lines by Monday morning

UPDATED: Sat., May 20, 2017

Airway Heights Public Work Department flushes potentially contaminated water from a fire hydrant into Aspen Grove Park in Airway Heights, Friday May 19, 2017. The city is working to remove contaminates from the water pipes caused when chemicals used for fire suppression at Fairchild Air Force Base entered the water supply. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Airway Heights Public Work Department flushes potentially contaminated water from a fire hydrant into Aspen Grove Park in Airway Heights, Friday May 19, 2017. The city is working to remove contaminates from the water pipes caused when chemicals used for fire suppression at Fairchild Air Force Base entered the water supply. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

City officials in Airway Heights expect to finish flushing water lines of contaminants from Fairchild Air Force Base on Sunday night or Monday morning.

The tap lines are being flushed to rid the system of perfluorinated chemicals that seeped into the groundwater from a fire-extinguishing foam that was used for decades on the base. The flushing process began earlier this week.

“It’s a 24/7 process,” Fire Chief Mitch Metzger said.

The city has been releasing contaminated water from hydrants at a number of locations, including some where city irrigation has been occurring for years. Those locations are intended to minimize any new contamination, officials have said. The contaminated wells have been shut off; Airway Heights is flushing its pipes with clean water from the city of Spokane.

Metzger said Saturday that the Air Force had begun paying for bottled water that’s being distributed daily to Airway Heights residents. Previously the city was picking up that tab.

Metzger said more than 60,000 gallons of bottled water had been distributed to residents as of Saturday afternoon. He said another 20,000 gallons would be ready for distribution at a vacant lot behind the Yoke’s grocery store on Sunday morning. The city has placed a dumpster at the location so residents can return their bottles to be recycled.

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