“UPPER DUBLIN >> With renewed concerns escalating locally over the presence of PFOA and PFOS chemicals in groundwater in the region, one fact has become frustratingly clear — very little is known of the long-term health effects of these chemicals on the body…
While the scientific research is ongoing, local residents, in the meantime, are demanding some kind of regulatory action now.
The Upper Dublin Board of Commissioners was greeted with a standing-room-only crowd at its meeting Aug. 14 when it was learned that PFCs would be a topic of discussion that night. This follows an EPA community engagement meeting held in Horsham last month.
Board President Ira Tackel said at the outset that while PFOAs and PFOS’ had been detected in water supplied by the township’s providers, there is little the township itself could do to directly eliminate the chemicals.
‘There is very little that the township can do in this whole area of water quality issues,’ Tackel said. ‘We are not a water municipality. We don’t regulate the water. That said, we are certainly concerned and doing everything we can.’
What the township can do, he said, is continue pressuring its water suppliers — Aqua, North Wales and Ambler — to get their PFCs down to non-detectable levels.
Tackel said North Wales has already demonstrated success with this using activated charcoal filtering. June testing at its Forest Park Water Treatment Plant showed combined PFOA/PFOS levels of just 5.5 parts per trillion (ppt). Ambler has initiated new testing for PFOAs and PFOSs and expects the results in the next several weeks. Its most recent published data is from 2016.
Aqua recently deactivated its well that supplies water to Upper Dublin, according to its website. Combined PFOA/PFOS levels in that well in its most recent test were 17.8 ppt. That’s below the EPA’s guidance of 70 ppt, but results from that well have varied over the last two years of periodic testing, from as low as 17 to as high as 39 ppt, according to its website.
Tackel said pressure also needs to be placed on state lawmakers to pass House Bill 705, which would lower acceptable levels of PFOAs and PFOSs in drinking water in the state to a combined 5 ppt — a virtually undetectable level. That bill, which has made little headway since its introduction early last year, was sponsored by state Rep. Thomas Murt, R-152, who was present at the Upper Dublin meeting.
‘ This is an issue that is a concern across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, specifically where there was a military base.’ Murt said at the meeting. ‘ This is a full-court press on the part of myself and my colleagues. This is a reasonable piece of legislation.
‘We need to take action,’ he added. ‘ The community is running out of patience on this.’
A resident of nearby Horsham, state Rep. Todd Stephens, R-151, who was also present at the meeting, said the issue has the full support of the governor.
‘It has been infuriating the lack of action at the federal level. I’ve never seen anything like it,’ Stephens said. ‘The Department of Defense and the EPA — they don’t do anything. They just don’t respond.
‘We’ll keep fighting in Harrisburg to try to get this non-detect standard,’ he said. ‘In the end, these chemicals should not be in our water until we understand them and maybe never.’ …
Stephens recommended residents switch to bottled water if they have immediate concerns about the water. Home filtration systems that include granular activated carbon filters are also effective, officials said, but residents should be mindful of the costs.
One residents who spoke at the meeting said it cost her $1,600 to install such a system at her home. She said annual filter replacements cost $650. She said she was able to get her combined PFC levels down from 25 ppt to a non-detectable level.
The county recommends residents choose a filtration system certified by NSF International to ensure the system brings concentrations to below the EPA’s 70 ppt recommendation.”
Read the full article by Rob Heyman