Residents in Warminster and Horsham Townships are wondering what’s in their water after harmful chemicals were discovered recently.
After potentially deadly contaminants were found in private well water at residences near the former Naval Air Warfare Center, in Warminster, federal, state and local officials held an open house meeting to address residents’ concerns Aug. 27 from 5 to 9 p.m. at William Tennent High School. Representatives from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Navy, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Warminster Township Municipal Authority, were on hand to address any concerns residents may have had and answer questions as to what is being done now to fix this problem.
Officials stressed that public drinking water provided by the WTMA is safe to drink and meets all agency standards. There is still concern, however, over private well water that may be contaminated with the chemicals perfuluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, which were once used as firefighting agents at the NAWC, the likely source of the groundwater contamination, according to the EPA.
According to the EPA, exposure to the PFOS and PFOA has been linked to various types of cancer including kidney, liver and bladder cancer, though more research is needed to determine other potential long-term effects.
“Studies on exposed human populations indicate PFOS and/or PFOA may cause elevated cholesterol levels and possibly low infant birth weight,” according to the EPA. “When animals are given large doses, they exhibit developmental, reproductive and liver effects.”
Officials say once the chemicals were identified, the proper procedures were taken to address the issue.
“As part of the third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, the EPA requires public water suppliers, including WTMA, to sample for 28 contaminants that are not regulated, but may require regulatory levels in the future,” said one sign on display at the meeeting. “PFOS and PFOA were detected in multiple wells [in the] WTMA public water supply. Well 26 contained PFOS above the EPA’s Provisional Health Advisory Level, [while] Wells 10 and 13 also contained PFOS at levels just below the provisional HAL. Well 13 is closest to former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster property.”
Once the chemicals were found in the water supply, EPA spokesperson Bonnie Smith said township officials contacted the Navy, who then contacted the EPA to begin conducting samples. Wells 13 and 26 were taken off-line, and consumers were notified of the findings once the EPA reviewed the results.
See information given out at Augsut 27, 2014 meeting (5-9pm): Actions to Address Impacts to Drinking Water From Former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster