On March 12, 2021 the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“PADEP”) announced the results of the second round of testing public water systems for PFAS. PFAS were not detected in 65% of the 114 water systems sampled and none of the results were above the U.S. EPA Health Advisory Level (“HAL”) of 70 ppt for the combination of PFOS and PFOA. PFOA was detected up to 59.6 ppt in Berks County, PFOS was detected up to 13.9 ppt in Montgomery County and PFNA was detected up to 18.1 ppt in Bucks County.
PADEP identified more than 400 drinking water samples from the approximately 8,400 public water systems in the state for PFAS sampling. These water systems were targeted based on their location within a half mile of potential PFAS sources such as military bases, fire training sites, landfills and manufacturing facilities. PADEP will also sample approximately 40 public water systems that are not located within a half mile of a potential PFAS source in order to establish a baseline.
The statewide sampling program is the result of Pennsylvania’s 2019 PFAS Action Plan, which recommended the collection of statewide occurrence data to support the development of a Maximum Contaminant Level (“MCL”) for drinking water in Pennsylvania. PADEP has begun the process of setting a MCL for PFAS, and if completed, it will be the first time that PADEP has set an MCL rather than adopting the standard established by the federal government.