The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies the contaminants to regulate in our drinking water, and they set regulatory limits for amounts of certain contaminants. Aqua uses the EPA’s maximum contaminant levels to ensure water quality.
There are some contaminants for which the EPA develops health advisories that do not have set regulatory limits. The health advisories provide technical information on health effects. PFOA and PFOS are included in those contaminants that have no regulatory limit but are associated with a health advisory. These chemicals are among a family of manmade chemicals that have been used for decades as an ingredient to make products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water, and in products for firefighting at airfields. They are extremely resistant to breaking down in the environment.
In 2009, EPA published provisional health advisories for PFOA and PFOS. At the time they were established, these advisories were as follows: PFOS: 200 parts per trillion and PFOA: 400 parts per trillion. In May 2016, EPA replaced the 2009 provisional advisories with new, lifetime health advisories that combined the two chemicals and set a 70 parts per trillion health advisory level for both.
What has happened recently?
Over the past 3 months, Aqua Pennsylvania has begun to receive laboratory results for PFOA and PFOS. Samples were collected from Aqua Pennsylvania water sources in areas in Montgomery and Bucks counties because of the recent developments with the groundwater contamination from PFOA and PFOS originating from nearby military bases in our region.
Late this week, Aqua received test results that included three Chalfont wells, two of which are well below the health advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion (results were 9.6 and 24), and one that is nearing the limit, at 68, from the sample we took. As a precautionary measure, Aqua is taking the following steps:
1. On Friday, July 15, Aqua resampled the well to verify the results
2. Aqua also shut down the well and will only use it as a back-up. This is mainly to ensure firefighters have sufficient water supply to ensure public safety in Chalfont. This is a temporary step.
3. To ensure a safe water supply in the borough in the interim, Aqua will run an interconnect with another water supply that they will ensure is within health advisory limits. Once that fix is in place, which is expected to happen next week, Aqua will shut down the well.
These steps are consistent with Aqua’s commitment to water quality for all our customers.
For more information on PFOA and PFOS, please visit EPA's Website EPA's Website
Residents can reach Aqua with any quesitons by calling #1-877-987-2782.
Please note this is NOT a Forest Park, North Wales Water or North Penn Water issue. The water from Forest Park has been tested over 7 times since 2014 when this first came under the spotlight, and their results have always come back clean and below any detection level.