11/17/2008versione stampabileprintinvia paginasend

Aqueducts in some towns deemed to pose a health risk for soldiers

Arzano, Casal di Principe, Marcianise and Villa Literno. As of today, these four municipalities in the hinterland of Naples and Caserta are off limits for the soldiers stationed in the numerous US Navy bases present in the Campania region.

Polluted water in CampaniaThe Command of the US Navy in Europe has issued an order decreeing the "temporary suspension of rental agreements" for its personnel, following the results of tests conducted on the water supplied by the aqueducts in these towns. The analyses, carried out by the Virginia "Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center", are said to have detected the presence of hazardous pollutant agents. In particular, especially worrying to the Navy Command is the identification of extremely high levels of "volatile organic components, bioproducts presumably deriving from industrial solvents". Water with elevated risk for the health of Americans, which, however, continues to be distributed to the local populations, and is used to irrigate the fields where crops and vegetables are grown and in the farms where buffalo are raised for the production of dairy produce. Following the suspension order, the special office of the US Navy that deals with rental transactions on behalf of its personnel will cease searching for dwellings in the four municipalities in Campania (34 rental agreements had already been signed), and switch their efforts to other Neapolitan locations "where a low level of contamination has been found". At present, approximately 300 US soldiers live in the area where residence has been prohibited; according to the US Navy Command, they "will not in any case be compelled to abandon their dwellings under duress". The situation for American personnel living in Casal di Principe is different; they must immediately vacate their homes on account of the "discovery of unacceptable levels of volatile organic components in the water used by the town's inhabitants". "Unacceptable limits were not detected in all of the dwellings where the tests were conducted - states the Commander of the US Navy in Naples - However, until the areas most at risk may be better identified, prudence requires us to suspend all new rental agreements".

The US Navy in NaplesThe programme to analyse the water in the municipalities in Campania inhabited by US soldiers stationed in the Capodichino Naval Air complex was launched in February 2008; in July it was made known that in roughly a quarter of the tests conducted, the presence of bacteria in the water was ascertained, including total and fecal coliforms. At the time, the (29) dwellings at "water risk" were located in the municipalities of Caserta, Pozzuoli, Casal di Principe and Villa Literno. The analyses were made by specialized laboratories of the US Navy Hospital in Naples and by a private German laboratory. The supplies of fresh chickens to the stores of the American soldiers fared no better. On 8 October 2008, the "Europe Regional Veterinary Command" suspended the million-Euro contract with the noted Italian company Arena after the detection of "traces of coliform bacteria in the water used for washing the parts of the plucked and gutted fowl".

Battery chickens A second inspection scheduled for last 7 November was postponed, probably until the beginning of next year. In the meantime, the sales centres of the US Navy in Campania will be "off limits" for Arena chickens. However, they continue to occupy the shelves of the supermarkets and shopping centres where Neapolitans buy their food. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has appointed the new Commandant of the US Naval Forces in Europe. He is Admiral Bradley N. LeVault, until now the head of the US Navy Joint Task Force in the base in Guantanamo, Cuba. LeVault will take office in Naples in April 2009 and he will also take over the office of Commandant for naval operations in Africa, confirming the strategic role taken on by the bases in Italy for future American campaigns on the African continent. For now, war has been declared on contaminated aquifers and poultry.




Antonio Mazzeo


Keywords: us navy, naples
Topic: Health, Environment
Area: Italy