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Resident Parking Agreement Form Edr – Pa. I have waited over 2 years to test the well after finding contamination nearby Now this neighbor wants answers
A nearby airport operated by Penn State University wants to know why it took more than two years to properly test after hazardous chemicals were found in the well.
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This story was prepared by the State College Regional Bureau of Spanish Light PA, an independent, nonprofit investigative and public service newsroom in Pennsylvania. Subscribe to our local newsletter, Talk of the Town
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BANNER TOWER – A class of synthetic chemicals found in 2019 near Penn State University’s airport has contaminated the tap water in the residential area, and families there want to know why environmental officials are taking so long to test their well, which they use for bathing. , cooking and drinking
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection this year began providing bottled water to at least nine households where water registered above the long-term federal health recommendations for PE and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, known as “permanent chemicals” due to their inability to break down. Naturally
But as the DEP’s investigation nears its third anniversary in Benner Center Township, residents of Walnut Grove Estates want to know why the state didn’t begin inspecting their wells until December — and wonder what the contamination means to their health.
Said Gene Stocker, 71, whose home borders the airport to the southeast.
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Stocker floated the idea of testing residential wells in April 2021, when a DEP manager responded that sampling was ongoing but residential testing would be premature, according to an email Spotlight shared with the PA. .
At the end of May, at least 41 of the 50 domestic wells in the study area showed some levels of PFAS, 11 of which recorded levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory limits at the time. One of the 11 was connected to an empty house; One had better cleaning
In a written response to Spotlight PA’s questions, DP defended its test timing, saying Walnut Grove Estates is half a mile from its original focus, “on the other side of the surface water and groundwater divide.”
“The DEP understands that residents are concerned, but it is important to understand that the process and speed of such investigations are influenced by many factors, any outcome, and therefore the main consideration is to ensure that the follow-up measures are scientific practices. words,” the department wrote.
Pa. Waited More Than 2 Years To Test Wells After Finding Nearby Contamination. Now This Neighborhood Wants Answers.
It is not clear how long the residents of the affected area have been drinking contaminated water. The DEP declined to specify a potential source as it continues to investigate the extent and origin of the contamination. Liability could mean significant legal liability, although the lack of legislation surrounding PFAS could limit which organizations or businesses could be held accountable.
“DEP has found no evidence to date that PFAS contamination exceeds historical results consistent with the requirements in effect at the time,” the department said.
An investigative report from June 2021 identified firefighting foam as a potential source of PFAS contamination at the airport operated by Penn State. The report also examines industrial, technological and military land use in the approximately 11.5-square-mile study area.
In response to questions from Spotlight PA, the university said the firefighting foam could contaminate the airport’s groundwater, but only if the airport strictly followed regulations.
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Penn State wrote that the extent of PFAS use in the manufacturing process, in addition to their presence in firefighting foam, may be one or more sources of contamination from current or past industries in the area.
PFAS chemicals are found in hundreds of consumer and industrial products, from non-flammable pans to fire-fighting foam, and are being tested for potential health effects including cancer, liver damage, and reproductive problems. A recent study in the medical journal Hypertension found that this chemical may be linked to high blood pressure in women.
“We have to monitor our health throughout our lives,” said Kevin Hulbert, who moved to Walnut Grove Estates with his wife and young children in August 2020. Airport
“His children are his biggest concern,” he said. He and his wife live a healthy life by gardening and growing charcoal – they all drink from the same water. They switched to bottled water in April after their test results showed high levels of PFAS
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Standard tests for positive contaminants did not detect PFAS when the property was purchased, Hulbert said.
“We wanted to give [the kids] the best life possible. “It’s really hard to do a program knowing that we’re poisoning them knowingly,” he said. “And knowing that these chemicals last forever in their bodies is my first concern – and how do we keep them safe, as every parent is concerned?”
According to the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, it takes about four years for some normal levels of PFAS in the human body to decrease by 50%. It assumes no additional risk
To protect their community from PFAS, residents need a municipal water source for Walnut Grove Estates, a small, rural area with a few affected homes located 10 minutes from the Penn State University Park campus. On June 28, the DEP will solicit public input on the state’s initial response, which includes providing whole-house carbon filtration systems to homes with heavily contaminated wells.
Long-term options reviewed by the DEP include connecting Walnut Grove Estates to the public water system, according to department sources. The group responsible for the pollution will be charged – if investigators identify the group, DAP said in a statement.
Meanwhile, residents say they are concerned about past diseases and future health risks, including cancer and thyroid problems, that could be linked to their water. When Stocker’s blood serum was tested in March, it showed four times the level of the same chemical PFAS, according to results he provided to Spotlight PA.
The chemical – known as PFHxS – is highly toxic and is part of the foam used in airport firefighting operations, said Linda Birnbaum, former director of the National Institutes of Health Sciences. “The PFAS family affects different types of body tissues,” he said.
“It’s not just the liver and it’s not just the kidney and it’s not just the heart,” Birnbaum said. “It’s also bone, marrow, and brain. You name it – the evidence is mounting. “
Stocker, a longtime car dealer in the town, complained of “gross indifference” about the contaminated water, which he fears his family and neighbors have been drinking for years. Three generations of ranchers live in the neighborhood
Test results reported in February showed two PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, combined at 194.8 percent in the Stocker well. That’s more than double the health advisory level of 70 per trillion set by the EPA in 2016.
A filtration system installed in Stocker’s home several years ago appears to keep PFAS below the threshold for indoor water use. The family purchased the system in 2016 after testing found another contaminant, ethylene dibromide, in the well.
The EPA issued new advisories this month on four PFAS chemicals, warning that even near-zero concentrations of PFOA and PFOS can have adverse health effects. The advisory level is the level at which researchers do not expect adverse health effects
“Everybody knows that 70 parts per trillion is too much,” said Dr. Alan Dukatman, a PFAS researcher and professor from the West Virginia University Department of Public Health. It is clear that more and more of us are at risk. “
Dukatman said scientists don’t know the minimum amount of PFAS exposure that won’t have health consequences, but those with PFAS in their water face a significant risk.
Gene Stocker, left, and County Commissioner Steve Dorsheim, center, second from left, discuss PFAS, or “persistent chemicals,” water pollution at a neighborhood meeting in June.
At a June neighborhood hearing hosted by Stocker, County Commissioner Steve Dorshem promised to promote transparency, including at Penn State – as DP completes a transparency investigation report that will be released in the fall.
About 50 residents who attended the event said, “If this was my house, I would sit in your chair and smoke twice as much.”
Regardless of where the contamination originates, the lack of regulation surrounding PFAS can limit cleanup options and accountability, according to environmental law experts. The EPA’s advisory levels are not binding guidelines, but the agency is pursuing a “hazardous” designation for two PFAS substances under federal Superfund rules.
This change will open the door to mandatory disclosure and other pollution control standards
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