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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun providing bottled water to residents whose wells may have been impacted by chemical contamination found in groundwater and residential wells in the Rahway Avenue area of East Norriton, Pa.
The water is being provided because sampling by the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) revealed Perchloroetheylene (PCE or "perc") in the well water in some residential wells. PCE is an ingredient used in dry cleaning processes and machine degreasers.
"When EPA became aware of the problem, we offered to assist Pennsylvania in any way we could. Protecting public health is our top priority and when the state asks for our help, we respond," said EPA Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh.
So far PADEP and MCHD have tested 35 home wells. Results from those wells range from non-detect, to about 1120 parts per billion (ppb). EPAs safe drinking water Maximum Contaminant Level for PCE is 5 ppb.
Health advisories from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Pennsylvania Department of Health, and MCHD recommend drinking bottled water until the contamination is addressed. However, using well water for showering, dish washing and cooking should be fine, as long as the cooking water is not ingested.
EPA and PADEP and East Norriton Township are currently working to identify all homes in the Rahway Avenue area with private drinking water wells. The agencies are contacting property owners in this area to test their wells for contamination, and to provide bottled water. Further investigation will be conducted to determine the extent and the source of the contamination.