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"By setting a company-wide standard of 13 ppt, Essential will be able to address the contaminant uniformly across its footprint, which includes nearly 1,500 water systems in eight states."

UPDATE: NBC10 Philadelphia visited one of Aqua Pennsylvania’s treatment facilities and spoke to Essential Utilities Chief Environmental, Safety, and Sustainability Officer Chris Crockett to learn the action the company is taking to address perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in drinking water. The March 15, 2022 update can be viewed here.

 

A Letter from Christopher Crockett
Chief Environmental, Safety, and Sustainability Officer
Essential Utilities, Inc.

March 2022

Dear Aqua Pennsylvania Customer:

At Aqua Pennsylvania, our mission is protecting and providing Earth’s most essential resource. When something threatens that mission, we take it very seriously and we want to assure our customers that we are taking appropriate measures to ensure the safety and quality of their drinking water each and every day.

Over the past several years, the presence of two contaminants – Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), known as a part of the PFAS family of chemicals – in drinking water supplies has become a concern across the country and around the world.

Since the latest health advisory limit was announced in 2016, Aqua has taken proactive measures to ensure that the drinking water we provide outperforms the EPA’s 70 parts per trillion (ppt) health advisory, including investing heavily in laboratory equipment for regular in-house analysis; installing granular activated carbon and resin filters on four systems with the highest level of PFAS; conducting engineering evaluations of the Neshaminy water treatment plant and evaluating the safety of the Horsham Air National Guard’s treatment system based on levels in the Neshaminy Creek; and assessing alternative treatment options, including ion exchange resins and other technologies. Most recently, we signed a settlement agreement with PENNVEST for a $4.5 million grant to construct a PFAS treatment facility at the North Hills well station in Abington Township, Montgomery County, where construction is underway.

In 2020, Essential Utilities Inc. announced new commitments to environmental and community health by launching an industry-leading standard for its Aqua family of water utilities and standardizing its activities to address PFOA, PFAS and PFNA. We committed to make necessary capital investments in the range of tens of millions of dollars over the next several years to install mitigation technology at drinking water treatment facilities where source water exceeds 13 ppt. By setting a company-wide standard of 13 ppt, Essential will be able to address the contaminant uniformly across its footprint, which includes nearly 1,500 water systems in eight states.

Several states have established or proposed mandatory standards that are much lower than the EPA’s health advisory level. Our company chose its standard of 13 ppt for PFOA, PFOS and PFNA to reflect the standards adopted by New Jersey and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is the most stringent standard adopted in any state in which Aqua operates. Essential believes its decision to apply the New Jersey science-based standard in the interim, while a federal standard is being developed, is in the best interest of our customers and the communities we serve. It is important to note that the Essential company standard is lower than the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Agency‘s proposed drinking water standards of 14 ppt for PFOA, and 18 ppt for PFOS.

We look forward to continuing to update our partners and customers on our company-wide standard and mitigation action plan and will continue to update this website with information on our progress. If you have additional questions that are not answered here, please contact us at 877.987.2782 or custservreply@AquaAmerica.com, or visit our Resources page or our Updates from Aqua page to access additional information.

Sincerely,

christophercrockett

Christopher Crockett, Ph.D., P.E.
Chief Environmental, Safety, and Sustainability Officer
Essential Utilities, Inc.