Warrington residents want water answers sooner rather than later
By Christopher Ullery, originally posted on July 26, 2016
For many Warrington residents, a special meeting to address water contamination on Aug. 8 can’t come soon enough.
Several residents took to the microphone during public comment at the board of supervisors’ regular meeting Tuesday night to vent ongoing frustrations and seek a more proactive response to the ongoing perfluorinated compound contamination of public and private wells in the area.
Since 2014, five of the nine public wells in the township have been shut down after tests detected levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) above health advisory levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA set a provisional limit in 2009 of 400 parts per trillion for PFOA and 200 parts per trillion for PFOS that resulted in the immediate shutdown of two wells. The EPA released more stringent advisory levels in May of 70 ppt resulting in the shutdown of the additional three wells.
While supervisors announced a special meeting to address the residents’ water concerns on Aug. 8, several residents said they are dissatisfied with the response from the township and its water and sewer department.
Resident Paul Fricker said the lack of action and answers from supervisors on Tuesday were unacceptable given the amount of time PFOA and PFOS can remain in a person’s blood stream.
“This stuff accumulates in your blood and it takes about 20 years for it to evaporate,” Fricker said.
The contamination has been linked to the use of firefighting foams at the former Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster, the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Horsham and the active Horsham Air Guard Station.
“I am very outraged that none of the water concerns were on the agenda,” resident Jennifer Newman said.
Newman, like thousands of other residents impacted by the contamination in the area, added she and people she knows have had health issues that may be connected to PFC exposure.
Interim Township Manager Barry Luber, who was officially offered the permanent position Tuesday night, said the contacts for Horsham and Warminster is the U.S. Navy, but the contamination is the responsibility of the Air National Guard.
Luber added he was not being critical of one branch of the military over the other, but pointed out that an apples-to-apples comparison of what was being done in other municipalities would not be applicable in Warrington.
Supervisors Chair Shirley Yannich and Millie Seliga urged residents to attend the meeting at Central Bucks High School South at 7 p.m.
More information on PFC contamination in Warrington can be found at warringtontownship.org.