Jump to Main Content Jump to Secondary Content

Public Water Quality

The purpose of this post is to update our residents on the current status of the public water in Chalfont Borough, related to the presence of PFCs in the groundwater. Aqua PA provides all Chalfont Borough residents with public water. They have provided us with the information below, relative to Chalfont Borough water.

UPDATE:  click here to see AQUA PA report on Chalfont Borough Wells dated 9/29/2016.

UPDATE:  click here to see Aqua PA report on Chalfont Borough Wells dated 7/26/2016.

Click here for recent AQUA PFOA/PFOS monitoring results.

UPDATE:  The well that tested positive for 68 parts per trillion has now been taken offline.  It was not used at all since Friday, July 15th.  

Background
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies the contaminants to regulate in our drinking water, and they set regulatory limits for amounts of certain contaminants. Aqua uses the EPA’s maximum contaminant levels to ensure water quality.

There are some contaminants for which the EPA develops health advisories that do not have set regulatory limits. The health advisories provide technical information on health effects. PFOA and PFOS are included in those contaminants that have no regulatory limit but are associated with a health advisory. These chemicals are among a family of manmade chemicals that have been used for decades as an ingredient to make products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water, and in products for firefighting at airfields. They are extremely resistant to breaking down in the environment.

In 2009, EPA published provisional health advisories for PFOA and PFOS. At the time they were established, these advisories were as follows: PFOS: 200 parts per trillion and PFOA: 400 parts per trillion. In May 2016, EPA replaced the 2009 provisional advisories with new, lifetime health advisories that combined the two chemicals and set a 70 parts per trillion health advisory level for both.

What has happened recently?
Over the past 3 months, Aqua Pennsylvania has begun to receive laboratory results for PFOA and PFOS. Samples were collected from Aqua Pennsylvania water sources in areas in Montgomery and Bucks counties because of the recent developments with the groundwater contamination from PFOA and PFOS originating from nearby military bases in our region.

Late this week, Aqua received test results that included three Chalfont wells, two of which are well below the health advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion (results were 9.6 and 24), and one that is nearing the limit, at 68, from the sample we took. As a precautionary measure, we are taking the following steps:

1. Today, we are resampling the well to verify the results.

2. Also, we are shutting down the well and only using it as a back-up. This is mainly to ensure firefighters have sufficient water supply to ensure public safety in Chalfont. This is a temporary step.

3. To ensure a safe water supply in the borough in the interim, we will run an interconnect with another water supply that we will ensure is within health advisory limits. Once that fix is in place, which we expect to happen next week, we will shut down the well.

Chalfont Borough will continue to keep residents informed via this page as we receive information from Aqua PA. All questions should be directed to Aqua PA at 877.987.2782.

You can visit their website at https://www.aquaamerica.com/our-states/pennsylvania.aspx.

The following links may be helpful:
2015 Aqua PA Water Quality Report for Chalfont Borough

EPA’s factsheet on the PFOA and PFOS health advisory levels:
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-06/documents/drinkingwaterhealthadvisories_pfoa_pfos_updated_5.31.16.pdf
Home Water Treatment Technologies

Home water treatment technologies fact sheet statement from the EPA states that:
“Home drinking water treatment units are typically certified by independent third party organizations against American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards to verify their contaminant removal claims. Some home filters remove impurities using activated carbon and reverse osmosis, which are the same technologies utilized by public water supply systems to remove PFOA and PFOS. However, there currently are no ANSI protocols for testing home treatment systems to verify that these devices effectively remove PFOA and PFOS or how frequently the filters should be changed in order to maintain removal efficiency. NSF International is currently developing such protocols.” See page 3 at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-05/documents/drinkingwaterhealthadvisories_pfoa_pfos_5_19_16.final_.1.pdf.

EPA’s discussion on home treatment options on page 65 at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-05/documents/pfoa_health_advisory_final_508.pdf.

Minnesota study to evaluate home point of use treatment devices. This report notes that both activated carbon (AC) and reverse osmosis (RO) treatment technologies have the ability to effectively reduce PFAS in water (note, the detection limit achievable at the time of this 2008 study was higher than is feasible now): http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/wells/waterquality/poudevicefinalsummary.pdf

2015 journal article by Anumol et al at http://www.awwa.org/publications/journal-awwa/abstract/articleid/53620391.aspx shows removal of significant amounts of organic contaminants in drinking water (including PFOS and PFOA) with the point of use devices they tested, which included three pitcher and two refrigerator devices (Brita, PUR, ZeroWater, GE, and Whirlpool).

Updated: October 27, 2016