HARRISBURG— Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) announced today that Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (Pennvest) has formally approved a grant, agreed to as a part of last year’s state budget to Horsham Township, for $10 million to defray the costs of the infrastructure necessary to remove perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) from the public water supply. The Horsham Water and Sewer Authority has been buying water from nearby suppliers until the infrastructure is in place to remove all detectable levels of the chemicals from the water.
The funds will be used for infrastructure including carbon filters, which will remove all detectable levels of the contaminants perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) found in the public water system.
“I’m thrilled these funds have been formally approved to help offset the costs of assuring residents are drinking safe water,” Stephens said. “This is part of the long-term solution developed by township officials.”
Stephens, with the support of Gov. Tom Wolf, was able to place $10 million in grant funding in a bill that passed as part of the state budget process in July.
The United States Navy had agreed to pay for carbon filters on five of the 15 public wells contaminated by chemicals from the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station – Joint Reserve Base. These funds will allow Horsham officials to address contamination in the remaining wells.
The problem came to light when the federal government informed the people of Horsham that their public well water exceeded acceptable levels of PFOA and PFOS contaminants. Both have been linked to several health issues, which forced Horsham Water and Sewer Authority to twice take public water wells offline to remain compliant with federal standards.
In response, Horsham Council and the Horsham Water and Sewer Authority adopted a short-term solution to eliminate all detectable levels of contaminants from the public water supply and asked Stephens to find state funding for a long-term solution to the water issues facing the township.
“On behalf of Horsham Township Council, we are grateful to the Pennvest Board, Gov. Tom Wolf, Rep. Todd Stephens, and the Horsham Water and Sewer Authority,” said Bill Walker, Horsham Township manager. “These critical funds will be used toward the implementation of our approved long-term remediation plan, which we believe will ensure that Horsham Township has the cleanest and safest public drinking water in the country.”
“The authority is very grateful for the efforts of Representative Stephens on behalf of our residents and water customers, along with the continued support and cooperation of the Horsham Township Council throughout this process,” said Tina O’Rourke, Horsham Water and Sewer business manager. “We’re excited for this opportunity to further improve and safeguard the quality of our community’s drinking water for years to come.”
Over the last six months the staff at the Horsham Water and Sewer Authority have been working tirelessly with the staff at Pennvest to finalize the grant which was approved unanimously at a meeting this morning.
“I want to thank everyone who stepped forward to find a solution to protect families in Horsham Township, including the governor, Horsham Township Council and the Horsham Water and Sewer Authority,” Stephens said.
Representative Todd Stephens
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster