North Wales, Pa. – April 22, 2019 – Senator Maria Collett (D-Montgomery/Bucks) introduced two pieces of legislation today to address the PFAS contamination crisis. SB 581 lowers the acceptable level of PFAS in our drinking water to 10 parts per trillion until such time as a maximum contaminant level is established by the EPA, DEP or a Governor’s Executive Order. SB 582 classifies PFAS as hazardous substances under Pennsylvania’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA). The bills are a key first step toward addressing this environmental and public health crisis and ensuring that the polluters – and not local municipalities and tax payers – are the ones bearing the cost to clean up our water and soil.
Under Article I Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we “have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.” According to Senator Collett: “The sad reality is that this right has not been adequately preserved or defended as it pertains to our drinking water and the contaminated soil from which water tainted with dangerous chemicals continues to flow and spread through communities across Pennsylvania.”
The culprit: firefighting foams containing dangerous per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that were used in great quantities at military bases and fire training facilities for decades. These chemicals, intended to do good, ultimately contaminated groundwater, wells, and drinking water in Bucks and Montgomery counties and across the country. It also put our residents and the hard-working military and civil employees who worked on these bases at risk for various negative health effects, including infertility, high cholesterol, and certain types of cancer.
“The people of the 12th District are sick and tired of waiting for action and answers,” said Senator Collett, whose district includes the Horsham Air Guard Station and former Willow Grove Naval Air Station and Warminster Naval Warfare Center. “I can no longer count the number of community members who have shared with me their stories of lost loved ones, personal health struggles, and increased water bills. Passage of these bills will be a decisive first step toward restoring the public’s confidence and ensure that everyone impacted by PFAS contamination has the resources necessary to remediate the crisis. I urge my fellow legislators to support this urgent and long overdue legislation.”