Bipartisan push for safe drinking water around Willow Grove Naval Air Station

Jim Melwert
May 22, 2019 - 4:00 am
State Rep. Todd Stephens and Gov. Tom Wolf were among about a dozen state lawmakers in Horsham trying to rally support for a few different plans aimed at ensuring safe drinking water.

Jim Melwert/KYW Newsradio

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HORSHAM, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Gov. Tom Wolf was among about a dozen state lawmakers in Horsham trying to rally support for a few different plans aimed at ensuring safe drinking water.

Standing in front of a 15-plus-foot high water filter, Republican state Rep. Todd Stephens says Horsham water authority is one of several water suppliers around the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station that have taken steps to get all detectable levels of chemicals known as PFAS out of drinking water. 

“Unfortunately, our local rate payers are still paying millions in ongoing costs though, and it’s simply not fair,” Stephens said. 

The chemicals were used in firefighting foam at the base. 

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Stephens’ proposed legislation would divert tax revenue from on or around the former air station to get rid of that surcharge. 

Wolf, a Democrat, is offering his support for Stephens' bill while also trying to get backing for his Restore Pennsylvania plan. Legislative leaders in Harrisburg say the tax on natural gas drillers is a non-starter, but Wolf says he’s working to build bipartisan support to fund things like clean water and urban revitalization. 

“People, where they live, Republicans and Democrats, urban and rural, north and south, east and west, that this might actually convince the leaders to allow this to come up for a vote," Wolf said.