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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Airway Heights water is still contaminated

UPDATED: Fri., May 26, 2017

Airway Heights Public Work Department flushes potentially contaminated water from a fire hydrant into Aspen Grove Park in Airway Heights, on Friday May 19, 2017. (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, on Friday May 19, 2017. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

The latest water quality tests show that water in the Airway Heights system is still contaminated, though its condition has improved.

The city shut down three of its four wells on May 16 when it learned they were contaminated with perfluorinated compounds. Those compounds are believed to come from firefighting foam used for decades by Fairchild Air Force Base.

Several private wells have also been found to be contaminated.

After the wells were shut down, the city flushed more than 15 million gallons of water from the system in an effort to remove the contaminated supply. Earlier this week the city tested water at 17 locations; 11 of those results came back as clean or below the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended level of 70 parts per trillion. The other six samples had levels between 82 and 857 ppt, said Airway Heights Fire Department fire Chief Mitch Metzger.

“We are not lifting our advisory at this time,” Metzger said.

More water will be flushed from the system this weekend and the water will be tested again early next week, Metzger said. City water should not be used for cooking or drinking but can be used for doing laundry and washing dishes.

The city and Fairchild Air Force Base will continue handing out bottled water to Airway Heights residents behind the Yoke’s grocery store. Anyone who is homebound can call the fire department at (509) 244-3322 or the Airway Heights Police Department at (509) 244-3707 for a water delivery over the weekend.

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