State updates investigation of Doylestown-area water contamination

by Kyle Bagenstose, December 6, 2016


Three of about 280 private wells in Buckingham, Doylestown Township and Plumstead have PFOA and PFOS above the level deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to results from the first part of a three-part investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

In a press release issued Tuesday, the DEP said residents of the three homes whose well water eclipsed the EPA limit were “immediately provided bottled water for drinking purposes.”

The investigation began earlier this year, after a Doylestown Township Municipal Authority well near the Cross Keys shopping center was closed because it contained PFOA at 210 parts per trillion, three times the EPA’s 70-ppt recommended limit.

A sampling map provided by the DEP depicts the investigation area as being within a 1-mile radius of that Cross Keys well. A summary sheet of the sampling shows the vast majority of private wells in that area contained the chemicals at less than 20 ppt.

The hardest hit area appeared to be neighborhoods at the very southwest boundary of the investigation area, which is south of the intersection of Old Dublin Pike and Pine Run Road in Doylestown Township, near Pine Run Creek. In those neighborhoods, the map showed two homes above the 70-ppt level and about a half dozen more tested between 41 ppt and 69 ppt.

Virginia Cain, community relations coordinator for the DEP, wrote in an email that the third property to eclipse the 70-ppt level was not included on the map because a follow-up test showed the chemicals dipping back below that level.

Sitting to the northeast of the investigation area were about a dozen homes that sampled between 20 and 69 ppt; they were primarily on John Dyer Way — also near Pine Run Creek.

“No responsible party has been identified as the source of contamination at this time,” according to the DEP release.

 “A second sampling event has been scheduled for early December to include private wells in an expanded area of investigation,” the release continues. “In accordance with guidance from EPA, a third sampling event will take place in the winter months to re-sample properties that have tested above 40 ppt.”

This isn’t the only area site the DEP is investigating. The agency is ramping up a similar investigation in the East Rockhill area, after two public water wells were closed earlier this year due to PFOS and PFOA contamination. The chemicals have also prompted a public well closure in Chalfont.

The sources for those contaminated wells haven’t been identified either.

According to testing results from various area water authorities, all major public water supplies in the Doylestown, East Rockhill, and Chalfont areas currently provide water that is within the EPA’s advised safety limits for the chemicals

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