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Newtown Water Co. finds traces of PFCs in wells

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At last week’s Newtown Township supervisors’ meeting, there was some concern expressed when Newtown Artesian Water Company General Manager Dan Angove announced that the utility had recently found detectable levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in two of the five wells that supply water to more than 20,000 people in both the township and the borough.

This was the first time PFCs had been detected in any of NAWCo’s wells, said Angove. Before the first quarter testing this year, the levels were undetectable, he said.

PFCs are a cause for concern ever since it was discovered that firefighting foams used at the former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Horsham, the former Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster and the active Horsham Air National Guard station have deposited the chemicals in the groundwater.

While the EPA has set a level of anything below 70 parts per trillion as safe, Angove says his company took Well 14 and Well 18 offline out of an abundance of caution. Well 14 had the highest level at 48 while 18 was also high at 33.

A state senator from Montgomery County has introduced a bill that would establish a level of 10 PPT for both types of PFCs – perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).

New Jersey has already set a limit of 14 PPT for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and 13 PPT for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).

Angove says, going forward, his company plans to test its wells quarterly. Before this the testing had been done annually. NAWC also plans to keep Well 14 and 18 offline until further testing can be completed.

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