Roughly one-third of the Horsham wells tested during recent Department of Environmental Protection samplings showed contaminants, making water unsafe to drink, according to a DEP spokeswoman.
To date, 34 private wells in the area of Limekiln Pike and Grindleton Lane have been tested, said Lynda Rebarchak, DEP spokeswoman. Of those, Rebarchak said 11 were found to have levels of perchloroethylene or PCE “above safe drinking water standards.”
The odorless and colorless chemical is a widely-used solvent commonly used in dry cleaning, or as a degreaser. According to Environmental Pollution Centers, “PCE is toxic to humans at very low concentrations.”
That is why the homeowners whose wells were contaminated have been with provided bottled water, according to Rebarchak.
Sampling is ongoing, she said, but DEP representatives will be on hand at the at 7 p.m. tonight to share findings to date.
, but Rebarchak said State Rep. Todd Stephens suggested the department hold a “larger scale meeting” to make sure all residents impacted by, or living near the contamination, could be brought up-to-date.
Following the meeting, Rebarchak said sampling will continue so that DEP can get a “good feel for the size of the site and the level of contamination that we’re seeing.” She said those tests would continue through the better part of this year. Once enough data is in hand, Rebarchak said DEP would then be equipped to make recommendations, which she said could include the addition of carbon filtration systems, or extending public water to the area.
In the second phase, Rebarchak said DEP would analyze potential sources of pollution. She said the contamination was first discovered during a cleanup of underground gas storage tanks in the area. However, PCE contamination is “not normally found at a gas station,” which she said leads DEP to believe “it was a separate source.”
“If we’re able to find a responsible party, we definitely look at cost recovery,” Rebarchak said. “We’re not always able to find a responsible party in every case, but we certainly look.”