You may have seen some disturbing news about PFAS in Emmaus Drinking Water Supply and other municipalities throughout Pennsylvania. These chemicals contaminate aquifers and wells used for drinking water.
If your water comes from a well you own, you should also be concerned.
The Department of the Environment found PFAS in the village one-third of Pennsylvania’s public water systems, although none exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency.
In addition to health effects, EPA and American Bar Association Stress Pollution PFAS reduces the value of real estate, both in terms market value assessment and tax assessments. For comparison, studies have shown fracking reduces the value of real estate by as much as 15%especially in areas where there are concerns about contaminated water.
This means that homes are losing value and local governments have to work with reduced incomes. PFAS pollution can also increase the likelihood of future environmental or zoning rules that restrict property owners.
A number of actions can be taken to prevent PFAS infection.
Some contaminants, including in Emmaus, appeared as a result of the use of PFAS-containing fire-fighting foam during the exercises.
Fire departments should immediately switch to foam without PFAS. They will need to adjust their training programs because environmentally friendly foams have different application methods. Fire departments, especially the volunteer department, will need grants to fund alternative foams and cover training costs.
Legislators should prohibit the use of PFAS-containing fire-fighting foam for educational and testing purposes. The Pennsylvania Senate has already passed Senate Bill 302which will limit the use of PFAS to protect firefighters and the environment.
Our legislators must also ensure that fire departments receive sufficient funds to exchange PFAS supplies and ensure proper training in the use of non-PFAS foam. Future grants should provide that fire departments no longer use PFAS products.
Contact your Pennsylvania House representative and encourage them to vote for Bill 1166 thus, the proposed PFAS legislation will become law.
This law is vital to protecting the health of our communities and the well-being of our neighbors. PFAS is often referred to as “chemicals forever” because it is a long-term chemical that breaks down very slowly over time – and perhaps never.
PFAS are in hundreds of everyday productsas well as more specialized materials such as fireproof foam.
The EPA says PFAS is found in the blood of humans and animals around the world, and they are present in low levels in a variety of foods and in the environment because of their widespread use. Exposure to certain levels can lead to adverse health effects, including low birth rates, cancer, liver damage and reduced autoimmune reactions.
Children and infants are especially vulnerable.
The bottom line is that we need to protect the aquifers of Pennsylvania. The aquifer is similar to an underground lake. It helps to visualize it as a pot of rice during cooking. If you open the lid just before it is completely ready, you will see a pan with wet rice.
Rice as soil, stone and other materials underground. A lot of water flows through the spaces between these particles. When a well is drilled, it enters the aquifer, as if sticking a straw into a pot of wet rice, and pumps water out of the aquifer.
Because wells draw water from the aquifer, water is usually replaced with more water, but the amount of water in the aquifer is not infinite. By analogy with rice you can remove water from the pan through a straw and the water will eventually disappear.
PFAS or other contaminants can find their way through the overlying layers of land into the aquifer, from where they can be extracted through wells.
When it comes to the government’s efforts to clean our valuable water and drinking water, most people think of the work done by the EPA and other federal agencies. But the actions of state and local authorities can also affect clean water:
● Zoning regulations (buffer lanes, failures, etc.)
● Rules, permissions and inspections
● Public education and advocacy
● Reduce hazards
● Water infrastructure projects: For example, the Pennsylvania Act of 2016 provides $ 22 million in grants or reimbursement for water and sanitation projects. This reflects an increase of $ 19 million over the previous year.
Our political leaders need to step up to eliminate PFAS and other threats to clean water.
Mark Pinsley is a Lehigh County Comptroller, a small business owner and a veteran of the United States Army Reserve.