Gloucester County PFC Water Contamination Issues News
Pollutant found in Gloucester County towns water supply traced to Solvay, a W. Deptford chemical plant.
For archives news articles, check this link: http://topics.nj.com/tag/paulsboro-environment/
EPA: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in Your Environment
Basic information about about PFOA, PFOS and other PFAS/PFCs; how people are exposed; health effects; laws and regs that apply; and what EPA and states are doing to reduce exposures.
Drinking Water Facts: Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) in Drinking Water:
What levels of PFCs found in drinking water are safe to drink?
USEPA has issued a lifetime drinking water Health Advisory for PFOA and PFOS of 70 parts per trillion (ppt)or (ng/L) either individually or when concentrations of PFOA and PFOS are combined. A Health Advisory identifies the concentration of a contaminant in drinking water at which adverse health effects are not anticipated to occur.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) developed a guideline for chronic (lifetime) exposures to PFOA of 40 ppt (ng/L). NJDEP has also established an interim specific ground water criterion for PFNA of 10 ppt (ng/L).
CDC Facts about PFCs
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Contact Information:
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- New Hours of Operation
What are perfluoroalkyls?
Perfluoroalkyls are stable, synthetic chemicals. Perfluoroalkyls are unique because they repel oil, grease, and water. The two perfluoroalkyls made in the largest amounts in the U.S. are perflurooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).
Removing PFCs From Water
How can PFCs be removed from water?
Filters containing activated carbon or reverse osmosis units have been shown to be effective at removing PFCs from water supplies where they have been used and tested.
MDH has conducted a study of point of use water treatment devices – for more information see the information sheet entitled, "MDH Evaluation of Point-of-Use Water Treatment Devices for Perfluorochemical Removal Final Report - Summary" (PDF: 205KB/6 pages).
Other types of common water treatment systems, such as water softeners, are not likely to remove PFCs. Boiling the water will not remove the PFCs.
If you are interested in installing a water treatment system of any sort, be sure to work with a reputable supplier and check references.
Source: Minnesota Department of Health
See also: Recommendation on Perfluorinated Compound Treatment Options for Drinking Water
N.J. a hot spot for 'Teflon' chemical in drinking water
Plastics firm settles Paulsboro suit
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: PAULSBORO DRINKING WATER
Q. What is the problem?
The Solvay facility in neighboring West Deptford has contaminated our public water supply system with perfluorochemical compounds (PFCs), and especially the PFC perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), at levels in excess of 100 parts per trillion (ppt). The sampling results are posted on the Borough’s web site.
Q. Is our water safe to drink and use?
In response to Paulsboro’s request, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued the attached letter and fact sheet (The “DEP Guidance”) concerning risks from PFCs in drinking water. ALL RESIDENTS SHOULD READ THE GUIDANCE CAREFULLY, PARTICULARLY THOSE WITH INFANTS WHO ARE ONE-YEAR-OLD OR YOUNGER.
Q. Does the Borough agree with DEP?
The Borough is seeking independent review of DEP’S statements on the risk to Paulsboro residents through its special environmental counsel, but THE BOROUGH URGES RESIDENTS TO, AT A MINIMUM, FOLLOW THE DEP GUIDANCE. Even if the water meets all applicable rules and health-based guidance, it is the Borough’s position that Paulsboro’s residents have a right to safe drinking water completely free of Solvay’s PFC waste.
Q. When was this discovered?
PFCs were first detected in Paulsboro’s drinking water in testing conducted by DEP in 2009.
Q. Why weren’t we told about this sooner?
The Borough only received guidance from DEP on January 17, 2014, after Mayor Hamilton requested such guidance in an urgent letter to Governor Christie on January 15, 2014.
Q. Where do these PFCs come from?
The Solvay facility in West Deptford manufactured, used and disposed of PFCs for years, and even has patented certain of these chemicals. Solvay is the only source of PFCs in the area that DEP has identified or that the Borough is aware of, and appears to have acknowledged its responsibility by testing and sampling for PFCs in soils and drinking water in Paulsboro and surrounding municipalities.
Q. Has this happened in any other communities?
Communities in Ohio and West Virginia have had their water supplies contaminated with PFCs linked to DuPont facilities in those states. For those communities, DuPont has agreed to treat the water or provide alternate drinking water supplies, as the Borough is asking Solvay to do.
Q. What are the mayor and council doing about it?
The mayor and council have a three-pronged strategy for this issue.
1. Community Right-to-Know: All test results and other relevant information about this issue will be posted on the Borough’s web site, made available at Borough Hall, or otherwise provided to the community.
2. Short-term actions: Mayor Hamilton has asked Governor Christie for the following immediate actions: a) direct DEP and the Department of Health (DOH) to have a public meeting to inform residents about the problem and any potential health impacts; b) have DEP order Solvay to provide and fund alternate drinking water for our residents, including bottled water for residents with infants who are one-year-old or less; and c) direct DOH to conduct health studies to determine if PFCs are showing up in the blood of residents.
3. Long-term solution: In December, the Borough’s special environmental counsel served notice on Solvay under federal law that it must pay for the costs of treating the Borough’s drinking water to remove PFCs, and to clean up other PFC contamination in ours soils and rivers, or the Borough will seek a court order forcing them to do so. This notice is also posted on the Borough’s web site.
Q. What is the Borough water department doing about this?
For the short term, the Borough of Paulsboro is working to reduce reliance on the wells showing a presence of PFCs. These actions will not eliminate the need for long-term treatment of water.
Q. What can I do to protect my family?
The Borough urges residents to continue to monitor the Borough’s web sites for additional information, and to attend any public information meetings convened by DEP and/or DOH.
Q. Could the PFCs be related to the 2012 Conrail train derailment?
The PFCs are completely unrelated to the November 2012 Conrail train derailment.
Source: Borough of Paulsboro Website
Message from the Mayor of Paulsboro
I am writing to update you about the presence of perfluorochemical compounds (PFCs) in our public drinking water supply.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has recently issued a health advisory and fact sheet (HERE), which among other information recommends that bottled water be provided to infants under one year of age and that bottled water be used for infant formula. Please review the NJDEP Advisory carefully, and follow its direction.
To ensure that residents affected by the NJDEP Advisory do not have to bear the cost of bottled water, the Solvay facility in neighboring West Deptford has voluntarily agreed to make free bottled water available to qualified residents through the Weiss True Value Hardware Store at 39 W. Broad Street. Residents need only sign-in, indicate whether they have one or more children up to one year of age living with them, and show proof of residence to receive free cases of bottled water.
The Borough is implementing additional treatment measures at our wells that will allow us to reduce or eliminate the presence of PFCs in the water supply near term, possibly relieving the need for bottled water by the end of April.
In the meantime, the Borough Council and I are seeking additional guidance from agencies and independent experts other than NJDEP, and following the three-prong strategy outlined in my previous letter to ensure that we eliminate any risk from PFC contamination on a long-term basis.
As I have said, the Borough Council and I are fighting to protect your right to clean, safe drinking water.
W. Jeffery Hamilton
Borough of Paulsboro
1211 Delaware Street
Paulsboro, NJ 08066
389 Wolfert Station Road
Mullica Hill, NJ 08062
Text START to (856) 270-7883.
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