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Murt, Stephens Urge State to Reduce Contaminant Levels in Water 9/9/2016

Murt, Stephens Urge State to Reduce Contaminant Levels in Water


HARRISBURG—Reps. Tom Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) and Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) have issued a letter to the state Secretary of Environmental Protection to request that the agency lower the acceptable levels of perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the Commonwealth’s drinking water.

Currently, Pennsylvania has set the standard for PFOS and PFOA at 70 parts per trillion (ppt). New Jersey has lowered the acceptable level to 40 ppt, while Vermont’s acceptable level is 20 ppt.

Both chemicals have been found in drinking water in eastern Montgomery County.

In the letter to Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Murt and Stephens argued that “higher levels of PFOA and PFOS contamination have negative consequences upon public health and safety as well as on the developmental, immune, metabolic and endocrine health of the general public.”

Read the entire letter here.

The contaminants PFOS and PFOA are linked to the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) Willow Grove, the former Naval Air Station Warminster and Air National Guard Horsham.

“This action would provide a higher level of protection to all residents,” Murt said.

“We have no idea how long and to what extent we have been exposed to these chemicals,” Stephens said. “That’s why it’s critical we do all we can to remove all detectable levels of these contaminants from the water flowing into our homes and being consumed by families.”

In August, Stephens and Murt called on the Commonwealth to sue the Department of the U.S. Navy to force it to clean up water systems in Montgomery County contaminated with perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) and provide blood tests and a health study for affected residents.

The National Institutes of Health has linked PFCs to bladder cancer and other maladies.

The chemicals entered the water systems due to firefighting training activities at the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station – Joint Reserve Base in Horsham Township.

Twice in two years the federal government informed the people of Horsham that their public well water exceeded acceptable levels of PFOA and PFOS contaminants. Both have been linked to several health issues, which forced Horsham Water and Sewer Authority to twice take public water wells offline to remain compliant with federal standards.

Earlier this year, upon learning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) no longer believed its previous standards were appropriate, Stephens was the first public official to call for carbon filters to be placed on public water wells serving Horsham Township, as well as blood tests and a health study.

In July, Stephens secured $10 million in the new state budget to make necessary infrastructure improvements, like carbon filters, to remove PFCs from the public water supply in Horsham. The United States Navy has agreed to pay for carbon filters on five of the 15 public wells contaminated by the chemicals.

“But we need to make the rest of Montgomery County safe as well,” Murt said.

“We must remove all PFCs from our drinking water,” Stephens said.

Representative Thomas P. Murt
152nd District /

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District /
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster




Erik A. Ross


Milliron & Goodman Government Relations, LLC.

200 North 3rd Street

Suite 1500

Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone:  717-232-5322

Cell:  717-574-3963


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