Military representatives said potential cleanup options at the former NASJRB Willow Grove might not even be presented until late 2018.
As a national health study on communities impacted by perfluorinated compound contamination inches toward reality, the question of when environmental clean up of contamination in Bucks and Montgomery counties will begin remains open, writes Kyle Bagentose in The Intelligencer.
Representatives of the U.S. Navy and Air National Guard updated the public Wednesday on their departments’ efforts to investigate and eventually clean the chemicals, during a quarterly environmental meeting for the former NASJRB Willow Grove and current Horsham Air Guard Station.
The military’s investigation is now in its fourth year, after drinking water contamination with toxic chemicals PFOA and PFOS was discovered in communities near the bases, as well as the former NAWC Warminster, in summer 2014. At Wednesday’s meeting at the Horsham Library, Willie Lin, an environmental coordinator with the Navy, could not give a definitive answer when asked when contamination will be cleaned.
“You’re giving us some progress, but we need to see some light at the end of the tunnel,” said Horsham resident Carlos Cook. “What is your prognosis?”
Lin responded that the military is still investigating the chemicals, and had no firm timeline.
“We’re just starting an investigation, we’re trying to understand it,” Lin said. “There are many other sites around the country that are trying to understand … it would be wrong for me to give you a time frame of when we’re going to complete (clean up).”
During his presentation, Lin reiterated that the military’s focus is to ensure no one is exposed to the chemicals above a 70 parts per trillion (ppt) health advisory limit for PFOS and PFOA set by the Environmental Protection Agency. He added that approximately 500 private wells near NASJRB Willow Grove have been sampled to date, with 95 exceeding the 70 ppt limit. Of those, all but 14 had been connected to public water.
Representatives from the Horsham Air Guard Station said they had tested 155 private wells in Horsham, Warminster and Warrington, with 61 above the health limit and 23 still needing public water connection. Both departments said they had agreed to pay a combined $29.5 million to the Horsham and Warrington water authorities to install filtration system on public wells testing above the limit.
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