The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced it is continuing to investigate possible perfluorinated compound (PFC) contamination in public water supplies and private wells in parts of Doylestown, Plumstead, and Buckingham townships in Bucks County.
The investigation will cover an area within one mile of the Cross Keys shopping area.
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) are part of a larger group of chemicals referred to as perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). PFCs are not found naturally in the environment.
PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. 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.
After one public supply well near the Cross Keys area of Doylestown was found to contain combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS that exceeded the Health Advisory level (HA) of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and another public supply well was found to contain combined concentrations slightly below the HA, DEP immediately took steps to begin a thorough investigation of the surrounding area.
To date, wells at approximately 280 private properties have been sampled in the Easton Road area. Property owners in the area were contacted to schedule sampling, as DEP worked with a technical assistance contractor to test wells in the identified locations for PFOA and PFOS.
Of the wells sampled at the properties, 3 exceeded EPA’s health advisory level; these residents were immediately provided bottled water for drinking purposes.
Based on initial results, a second sampling event has been scheduled for early December to include private wells in an expanded area of investigation.
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.
No responsible party has been identified as the source of contamination at this time.
Once all sampling is deemed complete, DEP will assess long term treatment options following standard protocol under the program’s regulations.A full summary of sampling results, as well as more information on PFCs in Pennsylvania, is available on DEP’s website.