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For years, communities in suburban Philadelphia have struggled upon discovering their water supplies are contaminated with PFAS. The use of firefighting foams containing PFAS at military bases in Warminster and Horsham have long been known to have contributed to drinking water contamination. In 2016, PFAS was discovered in drinking water in East and West Rockhill Townships in 2016. Now, three years later, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has identified a “potentially responsible entity” under the Pennsylvania Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act. About 14 households are affected with contamination of PFAS above the EPA health advisory of 70 parts per trillion.
The alleged source of contamination was the site of a massive fire in 1986, with flames raging for 20 hours and reaching 20 feet high before the efforts of 30 fire companies brought the fire under control.
Because the site is considered only a potentially responsible person, more investigation will be necessary in order for the DEP to compel it to act to remediate the contamination, unless it voluntarily agrees to cooperate. In the latter event, DEP would be relieved of expending taxpayer resources to fix a problem that taxpayers did not create. In any event, DEP’s intervention will not suffice to make whole the families whose water is contaminated.
In pursuing remedies for damages caused by contamination, identification of the source of contamination is a key step. When faced with exposure to PFAS contamination, individuals should seek not just monetary remedies and a clean source of water, but also a medical monitoring regiment. There is growing consensus that PFAS are a prevalent and potent carcinogen, but a course of medical monitoring will mitigate the risks of exposure, allowing for early detection and intervention if any associated illnesses arise. Of course, consult with an experienced environmental attorney if you believe you have been wrongfully exposed to a dangerous substance.
If you or someone you love developed an illness due to contaminated water, contact an experienced Philadelphia environmental lawyer at Williams Cedar. Our dedicated attorneys fight tirelessly to ensure that responsible parties are held liable and that our clients obtain maximum compensation for their sickness. With offices in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent clients across Pennsylvania and South Jersey. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777.