How Long Was Water Contaminated?

This story about contaminated water takes place in Canada at a military base. Base residents are concerned about their health.

While the Canadian military is indicating that they have been upfront, open and transparent about the contaminated water supply at 14 Wing Greenwood, base residents aren’t so sure that is actually the case. Aside from the issue of honesty, many base residents are also checking out a viable alternative to drinking anything on base, water distillers.

Evidently wells tested on the base have revealed extremely high levels of perfluoro-octane sulfonate; otherwise known as one of the additives in foam used to extinguish fires and integrated into water-repellant fabrics and clothing. The nearby village has been less than impressed with how the base handled its water issues.

It wasn’t until April 2010 that base personnel were told not to drink the tap water. That directive impacted close to 1,300 people. Everyone on base was supposedly told the reasons why and what the military was attempting to do about it – hook into the municipal drinking water system. None of the information released revealed how many of the wells on the base were affected because the upper ranks of command insisted it was a security matter. Base residents were beginning to consider whether or not to look into water distillation systems to deal with the problem.

It seems the chemically contaminated water was first noticed January 29, 2009, but for some reason the military decided to wait for further tests to confirm there was actually a problem before telling anyone about it. They didn’t think it was a huge deal, as no one had reported sick. Now that the base is hooked into the municipal water lines, they’re trying to figure out how bad the problem really is and how much of the base’s groundwater is contaminated. One thing is certain, and that is there is no contamination outside the base.

Local officials aren’t impressed and insist they haven’t seen much in the way of solid information about the contamination, in particular the extent of it. Health Canada says chemicals like this one on base tend to get into the environment via treated or untreated municipal waste water discharges, which then leaches into the groundwater. Interestingly enough, just about 600 tonnes of perfluorinated chemicals came into Canada from 1997 to 2000 in a variety of different products. Even though the supplier quit production in 2002, three tonnes were brought into Canada for use in fire suppressants.

While no one seems to know how the chemical got into the base’s water system, the fact remains that people had been drinking it and no one told them. The other disturbing issue is just how long the water was contaminated before anyone caught on to that fact? There are a lot of unhappy base residents over this issue.

In light of this kind of news, perhaps base residents would indeed benefit directly from water distillation systems or water distillers in their homes and elsewhere on base. Distilled water is as fresh, clean and safe as Mother Nature intended water to be. Water distillers would certainly be a major benefit in this instance.

Larry Wardell is with, a provider of water distiller systems and water distillation systems that provide truly pure distilled water. To learn more, visit

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