Water test results for 65 households have been released by Horsham Township in the first "point source" data released as part of the ongoing water contamination issue for towns in Montgomery and Bucks counties surrounding military installations.
The results show that the tested households have an average of 18.4 perfluorochemical (PFCs) parts per trillion in combined perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid) PFOA. The testing broke down the two PFCs related to a firefighting foam used for years on the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station and Warminster Naval Air Warfare Center.
Six of the 65 households had PFC parts per trillion above 30. Another 22 households had PFC parts per trillion above 20. Horsham said in a statement released with the results that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's health advisory limit is 70 parts per trillion for the two PFCs at the center of months of concern among residents.
A Harvard study, however, found that an "approximate" safe level of the chemical in drinking water should be 1 part for trillion. That study was included in a New York Times report in January about a lawyer taking on DuPont related to its decades of chemical creation and manufacturing.
"Earlier this summer Horsham Township Council approved a point source water testing program to be initiated," the township said in a statement posted Thursday on Horsham's municipal website. "This will provide our citizens with information from their tap showing the level of Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in their water and confirming the safety of the public water system."
Related to the ongoing concerns with health of those who live or have lived in the areas around the two military facilities, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey held a hearing Thursday morning in Washington D.C. Philly.com reported that federal health officials for the first time indicated support for blood testing and health monitoring of residents who may have drank contaminated water.
But no one at the hearing indicated who would pay for the expensive testing and monitoring of those residents.
Test results for another 40 households will be released in the near future. The water-testing company that conducted the study, Public Utility Enterprises, Inc., tested a total of 115 households.
Horsham also said that, as remediation efforts continue into 2017 to increase water quality through improved filtration systems and water purchased from North Wales, more tests on the same households will be done.
Through those remediation efforts, which the township has described as short-term fixes, Horsham plans to get its public water PFC levels to 1 part per trillion.
Since 2014, numerous public and private drinking wells in Horsham, Warrington and Warminster have been shut down because of concerns over PFOs.
The chemical compounds have been linked to some cancers and other illnesses.
To see the test results for each of the 65 households, click here.