May 09, 2019

Pennsylvania to Test Drinking Water Systems for PFAS

About 500 public water systems are near potential contamination sources in Pennsylvania

About 500 public water systems are near potential contamination sources in Pennsylvania

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced that the sampling of drinking water will start near the end of May. Currently, they have identified 493 public water systems in the state “that are located within a half-mile of a potential source of PFAS contamination,” according to The Inquirer.

In Pennsylvania, per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS) contamination has closed drinking wells, raised water bills, and caused health concerns in Bucks and Montgomery counties.

Director of DEP’s Bureau of Safe Drinking Water Lisa Daniels said that state scientists hope to gather “enough information to be able to tell whether or not we have a problem across the entire state,” according to The Inquirer.

About 360 drinking water systems will be tested statewide over the course of one year. However, officials will not release the list of systems they are testing, according to The Inquirer. The sites could possibly change during the program, but the DEP will release results to water suppliers and the public, Daniels said.

Approximately 320 of the 360 systems will be sampled for contamination, according to The Inquirer. Approximately 40 other systems not close to sources of pollution also will be tested for comparison.

“As we become more aware of information, whether it’s uncovering additional contaminated sites or additional sources of PFAS contamination, we need the flexibility to adjust that list,” Daniels told The Inquirer.

DEP will notify the water supplier, require notification for water customers, and require remediation or treatment of the water supply, if the water systems are found to have chemicals above the U.S. EPA’s health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.

PFAS contamination has caused a water crisis in Michigan and New Hampshire communities, over the past years. According to The Inquirer, lawmakers have urged the EPA to create regulations mandating cleanup