Region 3

Old Stone Bridge on Buck Road over Neshaminy Creek, Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Bucks County and Montgomery County Biomonitoring Pilot near Former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, active Horsham Air Guard Station, and former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster (PA)

Region 3 Contact

Lora Siegmann Werner, MPH
Regional Director

(215) 814-3141
(215) 814-3003 – FAX

lkw9@cdc.gov

In 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) received a grant from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with support from CDC/ATSDR, to implement a pilot biomonitoring study using the CDC/ATSDR PFAS Exposures Assessment Technical Tools (PEATT).

PADOH implemented the PEATT Pilot Project in Montgomery and Bucks counties near the Willow Grove and Warminster sites, including the towns of Ambler, Horsham, Hatboro, Chalfont, Warminster, Jamison, Warrington, and North Wales.  The PEATT was designed to characterize exposure in an affected population using biomonitoring.  It includes a protocol for statistically based representative sampling, risk communication materials, questionnaires, and a water sampling protocol.  The work that has taken place by PADOH will ultimately contribute to the overall body of knowledge we have on the topic of PFAS and refine what is needed to describe exposure in a community.

PADOH released the PEATT Pilot Project Final Report in April 2019. CDC and ASTHO are expanding the PEATT project to include further testing of the original PADOH PEATT pilot study participants and potential environmental exposures in the community. This will include urine, water, and household dust analyses. Additional information and details on PADOH’s PFAS activities can be found at:

https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/envirohealth/Pages/PFAS.aspxexternal icon

Former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, Bucks County (PA)

Groundwater at the former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster site is contaminated with PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances).   The source of PFAS in the groundwater is likely past use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) in the area. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Navy tested private drinking water wells in the Warminster, Ivyland, Warwick, Northampton and upper Southampton townships. Some wells are contaminated with PFAS.  In 2016, ATSDR produced a letter health consultation that evaluated the available off-site water test results. The report is available at https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/pha/NavalAirWarfareCenter/Naval_Air_Warfare_Center_LHC_01-20-2016_508.pdfpdf icon

ATSDR is working with the Mid Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment to answer health questions and to educate local health professionals about potential health effects caused by exposure to PFAS.

In 2017, ATSDR collaborated with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) to produce an initial review of the state cancer registry data for communities surrounding the site.  In 2018, PADOH added pancreatic and pediatric cancers to the review.  In May 2018, PADOH released an update of the 2017 report.  The PADOH cancer incidence reviews can be found at https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/envirohealth/Pages/PFAS.aspxexternal icon

In 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) received a grant from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with support from CDC/ATSDR, to implement a pilot biomonitoring study using the CDC/ATSDR PFAS Exposures Assessment Technical Tools (PEATT).  This site was included in the study.  Additional information and details on PADOH’s PFAS activities can be found at: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/envirohealth/Pages/PFAS.aspxexternal icon

Former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NASJRB) Willow Grove and active Horsham Air Guard Station, Horsham, Montgomery County (PA)

Groundwater at the former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and active Horsham Air Guard Station is contaminated with PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Some public water supply wells in Horsham and Warrington Townships are contaminated with PFAS.  The drinking water is being treated to remove PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances).  The PFAS levels in the drinking water are below the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)Health Advisory (HA) for PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid).  The utilities continue to test the water for PFOS and PFOA. The Department of Defense asked the EPA to test private well water near the site.  Some private wells in Horsham, Warminster and Warrington are contaminated with PFAS. The source of PFAS is likely past use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) in the area.

EPA asked ATSDR to evaluate PFAS water sampling results in the public and private wells. ATSDR is currently preparing a written report that evaluates public and private drinking water sampling data near the site.

ATSDR is working with the Mid Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment to answer the community’s health questions and to educate local health professionals about possible health effects caused by exposure to PFAS.

In 2017, ATSDR collaborated with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) to produce an initial review of the state cancer registry data for communities surrounding the site.  In 2018, PADOH added pancreatic and pediatric cancers to the review.  In May 2018, PADOH released an update of the 2017 report.  The PADOH cancer incidence reviews can be found at: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/envirohealth/Pages/PFAS.aspxexternal icon

In 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) received a grant from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), with support from CDC/ATSDR, to implement a pilot biomonitoring study using the CDC/ATSDR PFAS Exposures Assessment Technical Tools (PEATT).  This site was included in the study.  Additional information and details on PADOH’s PFAS activities can be found at: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/envirohealth/Pages/PFAS.aspxexternal icon

The final health consultation on the evaluation of PFAS in Public and Private Drinking Water Wells at Willow Grove was released March 13. ATSDR reviewed available information and considered all factors that may contribute to the health effects from PFAS exposure and drew six conclusions for Willow Grove. However, ATSDR was limited by several uncertainties related to health risks from PFAS exposures and took a conservative approach to assessing the public health risks from exposure to PFAS at this site. Please read the Willow Grovepdf icon report for more information.

Wallops Flight Center – NASA (VA)

The NASA Wallops Flight Center is located on Wallops Island, VA, near the Town of Chincoteague (ToC). Two of the three ToC shallow wells, and the deep well adjacent to them, are contaminated with PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) above the EPA Health Advisory (HA) for PFAS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). The shallow wells, and the adjacent deep well are no longer being used for drinking water. Samples collected between the NASA fire training area and a residential community west of the facility contained traces of PFOA and PFOS that were below the HA.

The NASA and ToC water supplies are routinely tested, and sample results indicate there are no detectable levels of PFOA or PFOS in the finished drinking water. NASA will continue to test drinking water supplies for PFAS. NASA is installing groundwater monitoring wells to monitor PFAS levels in the shallow groundwater along the site boundary. There are several oyster beds near the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the local population is concerned about whether the PFAS contamination might be impacting the oyster industry. Further PFAS environmental characterization work is in progress at this site.  ATSDR is providing public health education and technical assistance support.

US Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress (VA)

In January 2016, the Navy sampled groundwater monitoring wells and the on-base drinking water wells at Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Fentress (NALF). PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) were found in the monitoring wells and on-base drinking water supply wells.  The NALF drinking water supply wells were shut down, and the base was supplied with bottled water. Private wells located off-site were sampled, and some wells contained PFOS and PFOA above the EPA Health Advisory (HA). The Navy is providing alternative water to residences with contaminated wells and is sampling the wells quarterly. The source of the PFAS is believed to be aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used for firefighting exercises conducted at the site.

The Navy has installed a total of 47 on-base groundwater monitoring wells to identify the area where groundwater is contaminated.  The Navy is offering routine drinking water sampling until PFAS contamination in groundwater in the area is understood.  ATSDR and the Virginia Department of Health are providing health education and technical assistance.

For more information, visit the Cnic.Navy.Mil external iconwebsite.

Oceana Naval Air Station (NAS Oceana) (VA)

Groundwater at the NAS Oceana was tested for PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances), following detections of PFAS at nearby Fentress. On-site sampling found PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) combined exceeded the EPA PFAS and PFOA Health Advisory (HA). Off-site sampling did not detect levels above EPA’s HA. The source of the PFAS is believed to be aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used in training activities in the area. ATSDR is providing health education and technical support. In 2018, PFAS was found in one private well offsite; the Navy is now planning additional sampling.

For more information visit the Cnic.Navy.Mil external iconwebsite.

Blades (DE)

The Town of Blades, Delaware, found PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in its three public water supply wells in 2018.  The Town added granular activated carbon (GAC) to its water treatment facility and almost immediately reached non-detect levels of PFAS in the finished drinking water.

EPA and the state are investigating the Procino Plating facility nearby. Operations at the site include ornamental plating with copper, nickel and chrome; silver and nickel plating, and fabrication and hard chrome plating of griddle tops. Residents adjacent to the site on the west use private wells for their drinking water. The site is located within the Wellhead Protection Area for the Town of Blades water supply wells. The Town of Blades water supply wells are located approximately 1,300 feet north of the Procino Plating property. PFAS were detected in a shallow well on the Procino Plating site, and in private water wells nearby. EPA sampled 44 private wells in the area in 2018.  A few test results exceeded the EPA health advisory for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate). The state provided homeowners above the EPA health advisory with a home carbon filtration system.

For more information visit the following website:

https://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/hsp/files/bladesdrinkingwaterfactsheet.pdfpdf iconexternal icon

Naval Support Center Mechanicsburg (PA)

The Department of the Navy is evaluating PFAS (per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination in groundwater at this location. The Navy conducted an off-base PFAS private well sampling program in 2019.  As of summer 2019, 55 wells have been sampled to date, with 54 of the 55 results below the U.S. EPA health advisory levels for PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). The Dept. of the Navy will continue to make sampling of private wells available through the end of September 2019.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) is providing health education and technical assistance at this site.  ATSDR is providing technical assistance upon request.

For additional information visit the Navfac.Navy.Mil external iconweb site:

Dover Air Force Base (DE)

In 2019, groundwater samples collected in shallow monitoring wells on the Dover Air Force Base (AFB) in Dover, Delaware, contained levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) above EPA’s 70 ppt health advisory. Subsequently, levels of PFOS and PFOA above EPA’s health advisory were detected in four drinking water wells near the base. The owners of the four wells – which provide water to a shopping center with five businesses, two residences, and an office building – have been notified and provided with bottled water by Dover AFB.

The US Air Force and EPA have been working with the state to determine the impacts of PFOS and PFOA on private wells located near the base.  No PFOS or PFOA were detected in five nearby municipal water wells tested in November 2014 by Tidewater Utilities, Dover AFB’s water supplier. Tidewater sampled four on-base municipal supply wells and the off-base municipal supply well nearest the base. ATSDR is providing public health education and technical assistance.

Berkeley County (WV), near Shepherd Field Air National Guard Base

The Shepherd Field Air National Guard Base previously used aqueous film-forming foam containing PFAS to fight fires and train workers. These compounds later moved off-site in groundwater, likely affecting the City of Martinsburg’s Big Springs well. Drinking water from this well supplies both City of Martinsburg and a small percentage of Berkeley County customers. Residents who may have been affected include those who live in areas south of the Big Springs treatment plant and those City of Martinsburg residents who are connected to the municipal water supply and live west of Interstate 81 (I-81) or in the Amber Woods housing complex (east of I-81).

PFAS was first detected in the Big Springs well in February 2014. Levels did not exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provisional health advisory level (level used in 2014). In 2016, EPA issued a health advisory (HA) for the sum of two PFAS compounds — perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) —at 70 parts per trillion (ppt). This prompted the City of Martinsburg to take its Big Springs well out of service until a treatment system was installed to remove PFAS from the well water. Martinsburg now conducts routine monitoring to ensure treatment is effectively removing PFAS to levels well below the revised health advisory. In 2017, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) tested for PFOS/PFOA in private well water in the vicinity of the base. All water sample results were below EPA’s HA for PFOS and PFOA.

ATSDR is conducting an Exposure Assessment at this site. The primary goal of the exposure assessment is to provide information to the community about levels of PFAS in their bodies. This information might be used to help inform future studies evaluating the impact of PFAS exposure on human health.

For more information visit the following website:

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/communities/Berkeley-County-WV.html

New Castle County (DE), near New Castle Air National Guard Base

The New Castle Air National Guard Base used aqueous film forming foam containing PFAS for firefighting training in the past. Groundwater sources used for drinking water in areas east and southeast of the base were contaminated with PFAS. Residents who may have been affected include those who live in and near the City of New Castle.

In 2014, two drinking water systems serving the New Castle area, Artesian Water and Municipal Services Commission (MSC) of the City of New Castle, were found to contain PFAS levels exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) health advisory.

After receiving the PFAS test results, both water systems upgraded their systems to reduce PFAS exposures, including installation of granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration systems. In 2017, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reported that the GAC filtration systems had reduced levels of two specific PFAS, PFOS and PFOA, below the EPA health advisory.

ATSDR is conducting an Exposure Assessment at this site. The primary goal of the exposure assessment is to provide information to the community about levels of PFAS in their bodies. This information might be used to help inform future studies evaluating the impact of PFAS exposure on human health.

For more information visit the following website:

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/communities/New-Castle-County-DE.html

Page last reviewed: June 24, 2020