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Tacoma water well closed after higher level of chemicals detected

TACOMA, Wash. — A Tacoma Water utility well has been shut down after chemicals commonly tied to firefighting foam showed up at a higher-than-acceptable level in a test at the site.

Firefighters insist the chemical is linked to cancer.

Tacoma Water Superintendent Scott Dewhirst says “To the majority of our customers, this is a non-issue.”

The public access well had served individuals on South Cedar Street coming to fill containers. It was one of two sources of unflouridated water and had served customers for that purpose since 1995, though Tacoma Water estimates it was originally drilled in 1948 or 1949.

The utility’s voluntary testing at the site for manmade perfluorinated chemicals, known as PFAS, showed levels at 164 parts per trillion, exceeding the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory level of 70 ppt.

The source of the contamination remains under investigation.