The water in Abington Township is an issue getting more attention, and this is not a new problem. In 2016, the Horsham, Warminster area experienced a water crisis. Aqua shut down several drinking wells in Horsham and area communities like Chalfont because of high levels of cancer-causing chemicals PFOS and PFOA found in the water supply. An investigation traced the contamination to firefighting foams used on the nearby Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states the Health Advisory Level of combined PFOS + PFOA concentration in drinking water is 70 PPT (parts per trillion and the levels found in those wells were in the thousands. This incident prompted local representatives to lobby the federal government to take a more aggressive and proactive role in the cleanup of the chemicals spilled into local bodies of water.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)/Centers for Disease Control (CDC) draft report of Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls suggests that the limit for combined PFOS + PFOA concentration in drinking water should be 17 PPT. The Abington combined level was found to be in the 9–14.5 PPT range, below the danger level but close to 17 PPT. The 852-page report from the CDC is available via the info page HERE or as one PDF file HERE.
Aqua recently reported a well in the North Hills section of Abington and Upper Dublin Township had combined PFOS + PFOA level 14 PPT. State Rep. Dean and her District Office team immediately requested that Aqua take the well offline and provide it North Hills customers with an alternate source of water. And the well is now offline. The North Hill well supplies water to that neighborhood, which is separate from Abington Township’s water
See map below of those served by the North Hills well from Commissioner Michael J. Thompson. It is based on text info provided by Aqua, but has not been reviewed by Aqua, so it may not be 100% accurate, but it provides an idea of roughly who was serviced by the well, which is now offline.
In 2017, State Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-156) and Senator Tom Killion (R-9) and other colleagues introduced and reintroduced legislation to compel Pennsylvania water suppliers to get the combined PFOS + PFOA concentration of PA drinking water down to undetectable levels, (closer to CDC standards) regardless of the current EPA Health Advisory Level. There is legislation to combat this via of PA House Bill 705. The proposed legislation is sitting in the PA House Environmental Resources & Energy Committee, which is chaired by State Rep. John Maher.
SEE Story form 6ABC
On August 2 there was a public meeting on this issue organized by Rep. Dean. According to Commissioner John Spiegelman (Ward 11) the meeting was packed and ran until 10 pm. Commissioner Mike Thompson (Ward 6) is sponsoring a Township resolution with Commissioner Spiegelman asking the General Assembly to PA House Bill get 705 out of committee and to the floor for a vote. State Rep. Dean and her colleagues are continuing to fight for this and other legislation to compel Pennsylvania’s water suppliers to provide us with drinking water that contains no detectable levels of PFOS + PFOA.
Calls to Action
The CDC draft report is still open for public comment until August 20. If you would like to submit a comment on the report, you can do so HERE.