DEP identifies potential source of PFAS-contaminated water in upper Bucks County

Kim Glovas
November 13, 2019 - 2:49 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — More than a dozen homes in upper Bucks County have been receiving and using bottled water as drinking water for at least two years, after the state found elevated levels of PFAS in the wells. Now, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has identified the potential polluter. 

DEP spokeswoman Virginia Cain said the state started the investigation in East and West Rockhill Townships in 2016. About 150 homes were tested for the chemicals, which are used in firefighting foams. Most were put on public water, but others had private wells.

“We found that 14 homes were found to be above the EPA health advisory level,” she said, “so any homes that had over 70 parts per trillion, of either PFAS or PFOA, or a combination of the two, have been getting bottled water.”

The possible source of the contamination has been identified as Bergey's Realty and Bergey's Retread Technologies. Published reports show Bergey's was the owner when a massive tire fire broke out there 30 years ago. Crews used firefighting foam, which contained PFAS, to put it out. 

“It's disturbing that it took this long,” said Hope Grosse, co-founder of the Buxmont Coalition for Safer Water. “This happened a long time ago, and Bergey's has been fighting this off and saying  'this isn't our stuff,' when basically it was their stuff.”

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The DEP is working to find in-home water treatment systems to eliminate the PFAS from those 14 homes. But Grosse said those systems are available now and it shouldn't take this long to get those families clean water. 

“It's just taking more time, the DEP, to test all these different sites now and still not make laws about PFAS,” she added. “The fact that there aren't any other solid laws or MCLs set” — the maximum contaminant level of a pollutant in water — “is discouraging.”

The DEP has not heard from Bergey's about the situation.