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PFAS Water Contamination Not Widespread, Pennsylvania Says

2019-05-17-e-lee-jessica-cutaiar-sellersville-pfas-contamination-well-water-3-e1562016385463-1920x890.jpg
Emma Lee
/
WHYY
Jessica Cutaiar tests the water in her Sellersville home.

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration said Thursday that a first round of testing drinking water samples in Pennsylvania for the toxic chemicals known as PFAS does not indicate widespread contamination.

In a statement, Wolf's administration said one of 96 sites sampled in the first round tested above the federal health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion for two PFAS chemicals. The chemicals are used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers.

The administration says that lone site is a manufacturer of electrical resistor components in Centre County.

Otherwise, the administration said PFAS chemicals were not detected in two-thirds of the sites sampled. The remaining sites showed concentrations well below the federal health advisory level, it said.

Two of those sites are in western Pennsylvania. The Coraopolis Water and Sewer authority in Allegheny County and the Whispering Pines mobile home park in Erie county both have low PFAS levels.

Statewide sampling began in June and is expected to take a year.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is tasked with testing about 360 out of 493 public water sources that are within a half-mile of a potential source of PFAS contamination, such as military bases, fire-training sites, landfills and manufacturing plants.

In addition to sampling, Wolf's administration is crafting a state drinking-water limit, creating a cleanup plan and marshaling millions of dollars to help improve water treatment in areas in suburban Philadelphia with contamination.

This story was updated at 3:10 pm.