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News Releases from Region 03

Trump EPA Continues to Aggressively Address PFAS on the Federal, State, and Local Level

Actions benefit Mid-Atlantic Region locations

07/29/2020
Contact Information: 
Region 3 Press Office (R3press@epa.gov)

PHILADELPHIA (July 29, 2020) — Aggressively addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) continues to be an active and ongoing priority for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  In the Mid-Atlantic Region, as part of the PFAS Action Plan, EPA is helping states and local communities in the region target PFAS reductions and protect public health.

“With federal technical assistance efforts underway across the country, the Trump Administration is bringing much needed support to state, tribal, and local governments as part of the agency’s unprecedented efforts under the PFAS Action Plan,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These partnerships allow for collaboration, encourage cutting edge research, and information sharing—ensuring that our joint efforts are effective and protective of public health.”

“EPA is collaborating with our state and local partners in the Mid-Atlantic Region to address PFAS and mitigate risks to communities,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio.  “Our collective efforts are making a difference in determining necessary actions to protect public health and the environment.”

EPA Provides Help Where It Is Needed

EPA has formed partnerships with states, tribes, and local communities across the country. These joint projects allow EPA to take the knowledge of its world class scientists and apply it in a collaborative fashion where it counts most.

Examples of this federal, state and local cooperation in EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region include:

  • EPA’s Superfund program manages and provides oversight of Department of Defense (DOD) actions at a complex PFAS contamination issue in Southeast Pennsylvania in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP).  The contamination stems from the former Naval Air Development Center and the Willow Grove Naval Air and Air Reserve Station, which are located about two miles apart from each other.  Releases from these sites impacted private and public drinking water and surface water with PFAS. In response to levels of PFAS above EPA’s Health Advisory in public and private drinking water, EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, on behalf of the DOD, took the lead in rapidly providing an alternative water supply and conducted sampling of drinking water at hundreds of homes. Through extensive coordination among federal, state and local authorities, known drinking water exposures have been eliminated and PFAS contributions to surface water mitigated. EPA and PADEP continue to evaluate studies and response actions related to PFAS from these and other potential sites nearby.  The work is being conducted by the DOD using their Superfund authorities. EPA also works with various stakeholders including Townships, water providers and the public to ensure their issues and concerns are addressed. EPA and PADEP continue to work together coordinating input on the investigations, response actions, and community updates at these sites.

    Involvement of the affected community is a critical component in response planning and activities. EPA staff along with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry conducted and assisted DOD in planning and executing community meetings and information sessions. EPA also provided information in response to requests from community members and other stakeholders including local, state and federal representatives, township officials and the media.
  • At the request of West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), EPA scientists analyzed PFAS samples collected during air emission testing at an industrial facility near Parkersburg. The results helped demonstrate the effectiveness of emissions controls for GenX and other legacy perfluorinated carboxylic acids and allowed the WVDEP to make the appropriate regulatory decisions.
     
  • At the Blades Groundwater Site, in the Town of Blades, Delaware, EPA uncovered new information that indicated that PFAS compounds were used at a former chrome-plating facility. Releases from the facility potentially affect municipal drinking water wells and residential wells near the site.  Based on EPA’s discovery, rather than closing out evaluation of the site, PFAS sampling was conducted by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and confirmed the presence of PFAS contamination in municipal drinking water wells above the EPA Health Advisory Level. EPA worked closely with DNREC, other state and local agencies, and rapidly assessed and expedited several investigative actions at Blades, including residential well assessments to determine if any residential wells near the former chrome-plating facility have been impacted by PFAS. Concurrently, DNREC coordinated response actions to provide the Town of Blades an alternate source of safe drinking water. EPA’s diligent collaboration and partnership with Delaware also resulted in proposing the Blades Groundwater site for inclusion on the National Priorities List.

EPA Continues Innovative Approaches to Studying PFAS

EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region is collaborating in a Regional Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (RESES) project. EPA’s Office of Research and Development and EPA Region 2 have spearheaded the project and other collaborators include the states of New York and New Jersey. The RESES project is called “Investigation of the Factors Influencing the Fate and Transport of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances and the Development of an Approach to Determine Soil Screening Levels Protective of Groundwater.” The goal of the research is to develop an understanding of the behavior of select PFAS compounds, including PFOA and PFOS, in various geologic and geochemical settings so that more accurate models can be developed to predict PFAS movement in the subsurface and potential impact to drinking water aquifers. The field portion of this study will include sampling at the Valmont TCE Superfund Site located in Hazleton, PA, which is also contaminated with PFAS.

EPA’s regional actions complement the efforts being made to address PFAS nationwide. In July alone, EPA has made significant progress implementing the PFAS Action Plan—the most comprehensive cross-agency plan ever to address an emerging chemical of concern. For the latest actions EPA has taken nationwide to address PFAS https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/trump-epa-continues-aggressively-address-pfas-federal-state-and-local-level

For more on EPA’s PFAS research https://www.epa.gov/chemical-research/research-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas