The Timeline of Events in the Fluoride overfeed in the City of Franklin:
Franklin is located in Venango County, in western Pennsylvania. The timeline of the fluoride overfeed is of some interest because it’s unclear what the actual levels of fluoride in the drinking water was during the overfeed incident and for how long the overfeed impacted the community.
The best reporting on the fluoride overfeed was done by Aly Delp of Explore Vernango who presented a timeline of events from Feb 1-21, 2018.
Delp presented fluoride levels in a Feb 19, 2018, article:
“… samples collected by the Department on February 8, 2018, and analyzed by the Department’s laboratory which is accredited for the analysis of fluoride showed preliminary results in excess of the maximum contaminant level of 2 mg/L and at least one preliminary result in excess of the Center for Disease Control’s recommended “Do Not Consume” advisory level of 10.1 mg/L.”
“… On Friday afternoon, the DEP released an in-depth DEP Lab Analysis of water collected on February 8. The lab analysis shows initial fluoride levels ranging from 12.60 mg/L, fourteen times Franklin’s normal level, in the Save-A-Lot Restroom, to a barely above normal reading of 0.98 mg/L at a hydrant on Atlantic Avenue.
“The DEP also released uncertified Field Grab Sample Results from February 12. These results show drastically reduced levels, though some places, including Giant Eagle, Kmart, and The Caring Place still had elevated readings.”
Delp also listed the fluoride levels taken on Feb 14 in various parts of the community. The other newspaper reports, listed below, only state that there were elevated fluoride levels over the maximum contaminant level (“MCL”) of 2 mg/L.
A Consent Decree and Agreement on the violations surrounding the overfeed was entered into by the City of Franklin with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on April 5, 2019. This document presents the legal timeline of events. The Consent Decree noted two other fluoride levels during the overfeed: 3.25 mg/L and 25 mg/L (see below), yet there is still no clarity on what the fluoride levels were in Franklin’s drinking water from the beginning of the incident and for how long the overfeed lasted.
Penalities for Violations During the Fluoride Overfeed:
The City of Franklin and/or the General Authority consented to paying a civil penalty of $25,000.00 for the violations set forth in Paragraphs AAA through MMM in the Consent Decree. Also, Fred Leyda, signed a consent order and agreement with the DEP in which he surrendered his operator’s certification and paid a $2,500 civil penalty for the violations.
Consent Decree and Agreement timeline of events:
•• Feb 1, 2018, the “City of Franklin and the General Authority received a complaint about discolored water in the vicinity of Cauvel’s Trailer Court. The complainant indicated there was a blue tint to the water.”
•• Feb 6, 2018, “approximately 317 gallons of hydrofluorosilicic acid was delivered to the chemical feed tanks on the second floor of the Barrett Flats WTP.”
•• Feb 7, 2018, “personnel discovered that a malfunction had occurred at the Barrett Flats WTP allowing a large volume of hydrofluorosilicic acid to empty into the Water Supply (“Fluoride Overfeed”).”
•• Feb 7, 2018: “City of Franklin personnel reported the Fluoride Overfeed to Fred Leyda, as the operator-in-responsible-charge of the Water Supply, and the City of Franklin water treatment personnel disconnected the hydrofluorosilicic acid feed pump at the Barrett Flats WTP.”
•• Feb 8, 2018, “Fred Leyda met with City of Franklin personnel to address the complaints of green/blue water and metallic taste and discussed the Fluoride Overfeed.”
•• Feb 8, 2018, “complaints from drinking water consumers in the Third Ward of the City of Franklin of green/blue water discoloration and a metallic taste.”
•• Feb 8, 2018, The complaints from the Third Ward initiated an investigation. Water samples were collected “from three locations within the Third Ward of the City of Franklin for analysis by the Department’s Bureau of Laboratories (“DEP February 8th Samples”).”
•• Feb 8, 2018, “the City of Franklin and the General Authority hand-delivered a Tier I “Do Not Use” public notice to all service connections located within the area of the distribution system located West of Orchard Street within the Third Ward of the City (“Initial Impacted Area”).”
•• Feb 9, 2018: “the Department received preliminary results from the DEP February 8th Samples that showed elevated fluoride levels over the maximum contaminant level (“MCL”) of 2 mg/L.”
•• Feb 9, 2018: “Fred Leyda informed the Department of the Fluoride Overfeed and that a water test measured a fluoride level of 3.25 mg/L in the finished water from the Barrett Flats WTP earlier in the week.”
•• Feb 9, 2018, “The monthly operational reports, including, daily operational logs, for the Barrett Flats WTP … provided by the City of Franklin and the General Authority, do not include the finished water fluoride result of 25 mg/L verbally-reported to the Department by Fred Leyda on February 9, 2018…”
Press Reports on the Fluoride Overfeed:
• Feb 13, 2018, Excess Fluoride Levels Identified As Contaminant in Franklin Water. By Aly Delp. Explore Venango.
• Feb 13, 2018, High fluoride levels tainted water. By Marissa Dechant, The Derrick.
• Feb 14, 2019, Franklin Water Situation Remains Murky. By Aly Delp. Explore Venango.
• Feb 14, 2018, Franklin officials: Malfunction in fluoridation equipment not an emergency. The Meadville Tribune.
• Feb 14, 2018, FRANKLIN WATER UPDATE: Fluoride Levels Decreasing, Some Areas Remain Elevated. By Aly Delp. Explore Venango.
•• Feb 15, 2018: Franklin Violated Drinking Water Standard By Failing to Notify DEP in Timely Manner. By Aly Delp. Explore Venango.
•• Feb 16, 2018, Water Issue Main Topic at Franklin General Authority Meeting. By Aly Delp. Explore Venango.
•• Feb 21, 2018, Franklin’s Fluoride Return to Safe Levels. By Aly Delp. Explore Venango.
•• Uncertified Field Tests Showing Acceptable Fluoride Levels in Franklin Water. By Aly Delp. Explore Venango.
• Feb 19, 2019, Uncertified tests show Franklin water at acceptable fluoride levels. The Derrick.
• April 5, 2019, CONSENT ORDER AND AGREEMENT with DEP. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
• April 9, 2019, DEP Announces Settlement with City of Franklin, General Authority Over Violations Associated with Overfeed of Fluoride in Water System. Media Release from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
• April 9, 2019, DEP Announces Settlement with City of Franklin, General Authority Over Fluoride Violations. By Aly Delp. Explore Venango.
• April 10,2019, DEP settles with Franklin over violations associated with fluoride in water system. By Keith Gushard. The Meadville Tribune.