“Board members of the Warminster Municipal Authority voted unanimously Friday afternoon to pay a legal firm to assess whether the authority could file a lawsuit to recoup its expenses over recent water contamination.

Philadelphia law firm Anapol Weiss will investigate “the viability of a legal cause of action against various manufacturers of the firefighting foam” that was used for decades at the former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, said authority solicitor Robert Nemeroff, of Jenkintown’s Friedman Schuman law firm. A subject of extensive investigation by this newspaper, the foams contained perfluorinated chemicals, or PFAS, that contaminated the water aquifer beneath Warminster and other nearby towns.

Several area lawsuits already have been filed against manufacturers of firefighting foam, although all were brought by private citizens. Anapol Weiss represents clients in those suits.

The Warminster Municipal Authority, which serves about 40,000 people, has been severely impacted by water contamination. Some of the highest levels of chemicals PFOS and PFOA in the nation were found in the water authority’s groundwater supply wells in 2014, prompting their closure. Several more were shuttered in 2016 after the Environmental Protection Agency lowered its recommended safety limit for the chemicals.

In all, six of the authority’s 18 wells were found to contain the chemicals above the EPA safety limit. The military has agreed to pay millions of dollars to install carbon treatment systems on four of the six wells. The military originally agreed to pay for the two others as well, but reneged after retesting about two years later found chemical levels had fallen back below the EPA recommended safety limit, Nemeroff said…

The well closures forced Warminster to purchase vast quantities of water from the North Wales Water Authority, which it currently uses for about 95 percent of its supply. The water purchases cost about $2.5 million a year above what normal costs would be, said authority manager Tim Hagey.

The military is not paying for those expenditures, as it abides by the EPA’s 70 ppt standard. Nemeroff said the authority is evaluating its total contamination-related expenditures to date as part of the legal process, and will share those figures publicly once complete.”

Read the full article by Kyle Bagenstose