Dec 06, 2019

Pennsylvania Detects Varying Levels of PFAS in Drinking Water

Pennsylvania regulators discovered varying levels of per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water supplies across the state.

pennsylvania drinking water

Pennsylvania regulators discovered varying levels of per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water supplies across the state, according to StateImpact Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began collecting samples of  PFAS from water systems earlier this year that were deemed most vulnerable to contamination due to proximity to military and industrial sites. 

Of the first round of test results from 96 sample sites across the state, only one utility exceeded the EPAs 70 ppt limit. The utility, State of the Art, is an electrical equipment manufacturer in Centre County that oversees a private water supply used primarily by its 110 employees, reported StateImpact Pennsylvania

DEP testing returned a combined PFAS level of 114 ppt. According to the DEP, State of the Art was already supplying its employees with bottled water due to unrelated water quality issues. 

The other 95 samples collected by the DEP in this first batch were below the EPA advisory level. Several did exceed New Jersey’s limit of 13 ppt, however.

The state DEP plans to test drinking water from 493 more at-risk utilities, reported StateImpact Pennsylvania

These at-risk sites include Suez Mechanicsburg, which serves 32,000 residents in Cumberland County and is near Navy depot. DEP reported a combined PFAS level of 25 ppt at this utility, according to StateImpact Pennsylvania.

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration asserts that this first round of testing drinking water samples in Pennsylvania does not indicate widespread contamination.

In 2018, Wolf signed an executive order for a state action plan to identify and remediate PFAS contamination.

“Tackling PFAS requires ongoing efforts by multiple agencies and I vow to provide the resources needed and protect the public, despite inaction from the federal government,” said Wolf in the release. “I will continue to make it a top priority, and I urge the White House and Congress to do the same.”

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