As local lawmakers continue to pressure the military to do more to clean massive groundwater pollution near its bases in Bucks and Montgomery counties, contaminant levels appear to have increased in the past year.
That’s according to sampling data published by a number of affected water utilities.
Since the PFOS and PFOA contamination was first discovered in 2014, 16 public drinking wells, servings tens of thousands of residents, have been closed in Warminster, Warrington, and Horsham. Those wells were closed because they exceeded 70 parts per trillion (ppt) of the chemicals, the limit designated as safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Additionally, water provider Aqua Pennsylvania continues to keep a close eye on about two dozen of its wells throughout the region. Only one near the military bases, in Hatboro, has been closed so far.
Sampling data from the water authorities show that levels have increased, if only slightly, in 15 of 17 wells belonging to Horsham, Warminster, Warrington, and Aqua Pennsylvania. No wells above the 70-ppt safety limit are currently providing water to area residents.
State Reps. Stephens; Kathy Watson, R-144, of Warrington; and Bernie O’Neill, R-29, of Warminster, said they’re all pursuing additional funding from the military.
Earlier this month, Watson introduced a bill that would add the chemicals to the state’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act. That would allow state regulators and municipalities to enforce cleanup requirements and seek payment from polluters. “I’m hoping it would change the dynamics in negotiations” with the military, Watson said.