Governor Wolf Announces New Funding to Help Attack PFAS Contamination of 17 Wells in Bucks County

March 26, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of funding through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) for projects that will remove contamination of harmful perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from the Warminster/Horsham and Warrington areas in Bucks County.

“Access to safe drinking water is one of the fundamental rights of every Pennsylvanian,” Governor Wolf said. “This funding will provide clean and safe water for residents, and will help ensure the public health of these communities in Bucks County in the years ahead. Through the PFAS Action Team, we will continue addressing this serious issue across Pennsylvania.”

PFAS are man-made chemicals, are resistant to heat, water and oil, and persist in the environment and the human body. PFAS are not found naturally in the environment. They have been used to make cookware, carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food, and other materials that are resistant to water, grease, or stains. They are also used in firefighting foams and in a number of industrial processes.

The CFA board approved a $5 million grant for the Warminster Municipal Authority (WMA) through the H20 PA program. WMA owns and operates the water supply and distribution system that serves Warminster Township, Ivyland Borough, and Warwick Township. Thirteen WMA wells have been contaminated by PFAS as a result of the use of firefighting foam at military bases in the area. The contamination caused the shutdown of the wells and required WMA to purchase water from another source at a much higher cost. This project will install treatment systems that will allow the wells to be placed back in service as a water supply source.

Additionally, the board approved a $3 million grant through the H20 PA program for Warrington Township, Bucks County, to renovate four groundwater wells in the township contaminated by PFAS as a result of the use of firefighting foam. The township will equip the wells with ion exchange and granular activated carbon treatment systems to reduce contaminants to a “non-detect” level.

In September 2018, Governor Wolf announced the establishment of a multi-agency PFAS Action Team and other executive actions to address growing national concerns surrounding PFAS. The PFAS Action Team, along with today’s approved projects to treat PFAS contamination, places Pennsylvania at the forefront of states taking proactive action to address PFAS and other water contaminants.

“Sites in southeast Pennsylvania, and Bucks County, in particular, have been affected by PFAS contamination in Pennsylvania,” said Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell, who chairs the PFAS Action Team. “The Action Team will be continuing to pursue solutions to addressing existing contamination and preventing new contamination.”

Additionally, Governor Wolf’s bipartisan Restore Pennsylvania proposal seeks to further provide funding for eliminating PFAS contaminants in drinking water. While programs like H20 PA and the Hazardous Sites Cleanup program can help provide relief to some cases of PFAS contamination, additional resources are needed to combat the problem comprehensively across Pennsylvania. Restore Pennsylvania is a statewide plan to aggressively address the commonwealth’s vital infrastructure needs. Funded through a commonsense severance tax, Restore Pennsylvania is the only plan that will help make Pennsylvania a leader in the 21st century. View the full Restore Pennsylvania plan.

Also at today’s CFA meeting, the board approved a $650,484 grant through the H20 PA program to rehabilitate the Middle Dam in East Stroudsburg Borough, Monroe County, which is classified as a high-hazard, unsafe dam. The project includes rehabilitation of the intake structures, gate valves, and concrete spillway to ensure the dam returns to a safe condition.

More information about the Commonwealth Financing Authority can be found on the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) website. To stay up-to-date on all Pennsylvania economic development news, follow DCED on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and be sure to sign up for the department’s monthly e-newsletter.

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