GREENWICH TWP. — The township has shut down one of its public drinking wells after finding positive results for perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), specifically perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA).
Greenwich is the fifth Gloucester County municipality to stop using at least one water source due to PFNA contamination. It follows West Deptford, Paulsboro, East Greenwich and Woodbury.
As an unregulated chemical, there are no set guidelines for PFNA in drinking water, but an interim standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) has been proposed.
The levels of PFNA in two of Greenwich Township’s wells were minimal, while its third well, Well No. 5, had levels of 22 or 23 ppt.
“We’ve been running the other two since March,” Mayor George Shivery said.
Solvay Solexis, a West Deptford-based plastics manufacturing plant that has been identified as a possible source of the contamination, has met with Greenwich officials to review the samples and test results. The company used PFNA in its production plant from 1985 through 2010, when it voluntarily removed the chemical from its process.
Environmental groups have placed responsibility for PFNA’s intrusion into the water on Solvay and asked the company to pay for carbon-based filtration systems to be installed in all affected municipalities. The company has maintained that PFCs and PFNA are ubiquitous in the environment, however it has conducted water sampling tests in multiple areas and has paid for water delivery to Paulsboro, the most severely affected municipality.
According to Shivery, Greenwich Township is not waiting for blame to be assessed before addressing the problem.
The township plans to install the necessary filtration system as soon as possible and then try to recoup the cost from who is responsible.
“We’re ahead of the game and we are going to get it done,” he said. “We’re going to look into getting the money back, of course, but we’re not going to wait for that to fix the problem.”