May. 23, 2016

Renews call for health study and blood tests to measure past exposure

HARRISBURG—Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) announced today that, thanks to swift action by the Horsham Water and Sewer Authority, Horsham’s public water complies with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new, more stringent standards announced last week. The combined permissible level of contaminants went from 600 parts per trillion to 70 parts per trillion.

“That is a substantial decrease,” Stephens said. “I’m glad the EPA has finally stepped up and taken action.”

The Horsham Water and Sewer Authority acted quickly, taking three of Horsham’s 12 operating public water wells offline because the levels of contaminants exceeded the EPA’s new, stricter limits at some point in recent testing. The nine remaining wells have all tested well below the new, more stringent EPA limits.

Because the operating water systems meet the EPA’s new standards, the distribution of bottled water has ceased.

The contaminants perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are linked to the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) Willow Grove, the former Naval Air Station (NAS) Warminster and Air National Guard (ANG) Horsham.

For months, Stephens, along with public officials including Horsham Council, U.S. Reps. Brendan Boyle and Pat Meehan, and Gov. Tom Wolf have been calling for the EPA to update its standards. In the absence of federal action, last week, Wolf announced that the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would provide free bottled water to Horsham residents connected to public water.

The move was a precautionary action to ensure all residents in the area were receiving water until the EPA reduced the levels of PFOS and PFOA allowed in drinking water.

Ironically, the same day the water distribution began, the EPA released its new, more stringent standards. Following the EPA announcement and Horsham’s actions, DEP is no longer providing the bottled water since Horsham’s public water complies with the EPA’s new standards. The Navy will be providing bottled water to residents with private wells that exceed the new levels for PFOS/PFOA.

“As a father of two small children living in Horsham, I remain committed to ensuring our public drinking water meets the highest possible standards,” explained Stephens.

In March, Stephens and Rep. Bernie O’Neill (R-Montgomery) called for a health risk assessment, and in April Stephens called for the state to intervene with carbon filters for the public water supply and blood testing to measure exposure as was done in Hoosick Falls, New York, when they dealt with the same contaminants.

“The new more stringent EPA standards serve to validate the need for a health risk assessment and blood testing so we can be informed about our exposure levels and protect our families if necessary,” Stephens said.

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster