“In a letter sent to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf this week, state Rep. Tom Murt, R-152, of Upper Moreland, asked the governor to visit local areas impacted by ground and drinking water contamination.
The request comes at a time of renewed interest in perfluorinated chemicals, which were used at area military bases and eventually discovered to have contaminated water supplies, primarily in Warminster, Warrington and Horsham. Those towns have since taken steps to remove the chemicals to below detectable levels.
None of those towns fall in Murt’s district, but the representative’s request demonstrates concerns cross municipal borders. Lower levels of the chemicals have also been found in nearby towns that also rely on groundwater, including Hatboro and Upper Dublin. A well in Hatboro was closed in 2016 due to the chemicals, and just last week private water supplier Aqua Pennsylvania closed a well serving Upper Dublin due the chemicals’ presence.
‘The communities of Horsham and Warminster were hit incredibly hard by PFAS contamination and they are still dealing with catastrophic illness, loss of property value and fear,’ Murt wrote in his letter, using an acronym for perfluorinated chemicals. ‘Alongside those communities are towns that have been overlooked until recently, and where the negative impacts of contamination are just starting to emerge.’ …
The presence of the chemicals in Hatboro and Upper Dublin has not yet been definitively tied to the military, which publicly took responsibility for the high levels of the chemicals in Warminster, Warrington, and Horsham. In addition, to date the military has only taken action when the chemicals are found above a safety advisory level set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The well serving Upper Dublin taken offline last week fell below that level.
Still, Murt’s letter pointed to the use of firefighting foams at the bases and invited Wolf to tour one of the area bases.
‘The community of Upper Dublin is one such area in my district as it is located just three miles from the Willow Grove Naval Air Station,’ Murt wrote. ‘Every day, as these contaminants find their way into our local environment, Upper Dublin finds itself in their path because the steps taken to prevent contamination in other areas have not been taken there.’
Wolf press secretary J.J. Abbott wrote in an email his office only learned of the request today when asked by the media, and that the governor’s office would review it.
‘Governor Wolf understands the vital importance of addressing this issue, which is why his administration has worked aggressively to address this emerging contaminant and push the federal government to clean up the contamination it has caused, and show leadership in taking a science based approach to keep the public safe and protected,’ Abbott wrote.
In 2016, Wolf asked the military to pay for blood testing for about 70,000 area residents. The request was not fulfilled, but local communities are believed to be among the candidates for a nationwide health study by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that would include testing.”
Read the full article by Kyle Bagenstose