Wolf Administration Continues Efforts to Address PFAS Contamination
August 22, 2019
Horsham, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf was joined by Representative Todd Stephens and Representative Meghan Schroeder to announce new funding to help address PFAS contamination in Horsham, Warminster, Warrington, and Warwick townships.
“Republican or Democrat, senator or representative, every elected official understands that clean drinking water is a critical issue,” Gov. Wolf said. “We all want Pennsylvanians to live the happiest, healthiest lives possible and today I am proud to be here to help lessen a burden for these communities that residents did not cause.”
In addition, the governor renewed his call for the United States Environmental Protection Agency to establish an enforceable, nationwide drinking water standard for PFAS under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
“The federal government played a big role in causing these issues and they should be stepping up in a much bigger way,” Gov. Wolf said. “We need the White House and Congress to get serious about addressing this issue.”
Flanked by state and local leadership, the governor announced a $3.8 million grant to support water treatment efforts in Horsham, Warminster, Warrington, and Warwick townships. This new funding will help bolster the funding awarded over the past few years to help Warminster and Warrington address contamination, and to install the carbon filters in Horsham.
“Horsham residents shouldn’t have to bear the costs of removing the federal government’s contamination from our drinking water,” said State Representative Todd Stephens. “Working together with Governor Wolf, we’ve been able to provide funds to eliminate the unfair surcharges Horsham residents have been paying to ensure their water is safe to drink.”
“For years, our residents in Warminster have absorbed the cost of purchasing clean water due to the federal government’s inability to clean up its own mess. With this state funding, we will finally be able to alleviate the surcharge for this water from our ratepayers. As Warwick Township deals with similar contamination issues, we will work to ensure that this funding will assist them with needed infrastructure improvements,” said State Representative Meghan Schroeder.
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances – PFAS – are man-made chemicals 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.
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 places Pennsylvania at the forefront of states taking proactive action to address PFAS and other water contaminants.
“I would like to thank the local officials for the steps they’ve taken to address the PFAS contamination in Horsham, Warminster, Warrington, and Warwick townships,” said Gov. Wolf. “We’re here in Horsham today, but we know PFAS was likely used at other airports, military bases, and manufacturing facilities, and I am committed to identifying those locations and supporting any necessary cleanup so today’s residents don’t have to bear a costly burden of the past.”
In June, the Department of Environmental Protection began a statewide sampling plan to identify PFAS-impacted drinking water. Preliminary results from the sampling will be released in the fall. Additionally, the Department of Health has hired a state toxicologist, and the Department of Environmental Protection is finalizing a contract for specialized toxicology services to move forward with setting a state limit for PFAS in drinking water to establish a cleanup plan that will result in every Pennsylvanian having water free from PFAS contamination.