Fluoride Action Network

West Deptford: Well with pollutant is shut down

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | January 28th, 2014 | By Angelo Fichera, Inquirer Staff Writer
Industry type: Perfluorinated chemicals

West Deptford officials have shut down a water-supply well containing a pollutant that has raised concerns in neighboring Paulsboro.

The township is taking precautionary measures, officials say, after a certain type of perfluorinated compound (PFC) was found in Well No. 3. The compound – perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) – is believed to stem from a township-based facility, Solvay Specialty Polymers on Leonard Lane. The plastics company has said it stopped using PFCs in 2010.

Brandon Umba, West Deptford’s acting administrator, said the township is being proactive as further tests are done on the well’s water and sent to the state to be “qualified.” The township expects to have an update for the public by Feb. 20.

Umba said the water system would not be affected by temporarily turning off the well – one of six supplying the township.

“We’re not in the same situation that Paulsboro is,” he said.The state Department of Environmental Protection issued a Jan. 17 advisory to Paulsboro instructing families to use bottled water and formula to feed children up to age 1. That advice draws on evolving science on the health impacts of PFCs; some studies have deemed the compound toxic to animals and wildlife.

There are no state or federal regulations for levels of PFCs or PFNAs in water. Paulsboro’s Well No. 7 showed the highest level of PFNA, according to the DEP.

Borough residents continue to consume water from Well No. 7 because another primary well’s filter is being upgraded to remove naturally occurring radium from the water. Radium, a regulated contaminant, was exceeding drinking standards.