Thursday, August 17, 2017

Pa. takes first step toward regulating PFOA in water

Kyle Bagenstose reports for the Courier-Times:

A Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection board unexpectedly voted Tuesday morning to order a review of PFOA in drinking water, after being petitioned by the Bristol Borough-based environmental nonprofit Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
The chemical, along with sister chemical PFOS, has been found in nationally high levels in drinking water near military bases in Bucks and Montgomery counties, and has also been found in lesser amounts in other parts of the counties.
Tracy Carluccio, deputy director of the Riverkeeper Network, said the unanimous vote by the DEP’s Environmental Quality Board caught her off guard. “I’m pleasantly surprised,” Carluccio said.
The Riverkeeper Network announced in May that it was petitioning the DEP, initiating a formal regulatory process that required Carluccio to present the petition at Tuesday’s board meeting. Carluccio said she spoke for several minutes and fielded “good questions” from the 20-member, volunteer board.
“There seemed to be a lot of interest in this … they had obviously read the petition and had taken on looking at the issue in a serious way,” Carluccio said.
In an email earlier this month, DEP press secretary Neil Shader said that once the board votes to accept such a petition, DEP staff must study the chemical in question and make a formal recommendation to the board about whether a regulation should be set, and if so, the level of the chemical. If approved, every water authority in the state would be required to test for the chemical and install filtration systems if it’s found above the safe limit.
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