Federal EPA Response to #PFAS Levels Could Use PA Bucks Towns' Response as Models | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

New federal advisories for a family of unregulated chemicals could make three local communities a model for others looking to clean up their water supplies.


The Environmental Protection Agency last week released new advisories for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that are up to 17,000 times lower than a previous lifetime advisory of 70 parts per trillion of the “forever chemicals” in public wells.


The advisories are for four of the more common types of PFAS compounds, setting an advisory for PFOA at just four parts per quadrillion [0.004 ppt] and PFOS to 0.02 ppt.


The new levels, part of the EPA’s “Strategic Roadmap” toward PFAS regulation, aren’t far off from what Horsham, Warminster and Warrington have been using for several years, according to state Rep. Todd Stephens, R-151.


“People in Horsham, Warrington and Warminster, their water has been meeting these standards for years now and we’re glad that the federal government has finally caught up with us,” the Horsham lawmaker said during a phone interview Thursday.


With the new EPA guidelines almost certain to have communities across the country rethinking their water supplies, Stephens said it's likely towns in Pennsylvania and across the country might look to Bucks and Montgomery counties on ways to cut contamination.


“The (towns) in our area have been dealing with this issue now for many, many years and have already turned a corner on it. But there are some who may now be facing a new issue that they’re going to have to deal with for their water customers,” Stephens said.


“I would suggest that every municipality develop a plan to reduce the contaminants to the lowest possible level that they can because I think that the health advisory level will ultimately convert to law,” Bender said.


Municipalities should also find ways to connect with as many back-ups water supplies as possible.


A filtration system can take several years to design, permit and build out, Bender said.