EPA holds regional meeting Regional meeting in Horsham to hear local concerns

On Wednesday (7/25/2018), Mark Cuker represented Upper Dublin Township at an EPA Region 3 Community Stakeholder Meeting in Horsham, PA concerning PFAS contamination in the drinking water in Upper Dublin, Horsham, Warminster, Warrington, and Warwick Townships.

The meeting began with a presentation detailing the EPA’s current PFAS research. Several panels were then held to discuss successes, challenges, and concerns regarding PFAS management on the national, state, and local levels.

The federal panel included presentations from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The state panel was comprised of representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH), and state agencies from Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia.. Each affected township, except for Upper Dublin, participated in the local panel.

The ultimate goal of this public meeting was for the EPA to hear the first-hand concerns of affected residents. As a result, the meeting included a community panel and a several-hour listening session in which residents directly shared their experiences and voiced their concerns to the EPA representatives present at the meeting.

Mark participated in the community panel with Hope Grosse and Joanne Stanton, two fellow community leaders and members of the National PFAS Contamination Coalition. This panel highlighted community concerns regarding children’s health and safety, lack of communication and transparency, lack of enforceable regulations, and more.

Both the local and community panels emphasized the financial burden of making residents pay out of pocket for clean drinking water. Horsham, Warminster, and Warrington Townships have spent millions of dollars to get PFAS levels in their drinking water down to non-detect; this has forced the water authorities to increase the rates they charge their customers. Both the residents and the townships are therefore demanding that the Federal Government, which caused the problem, foot the bill for clean drinking water..

The state, local, and community panels also all emphasized the need to regulate PFAS chemicals as a class with a national enforceable maximum contaminant level. Furthermore, the community panel asserted that the residents have a right to know what they are ingesting, and therefore requested that the Federal Government provide all residents with comprehensive blood testing and health studies.

The listening session, in which residents shared their personal stories and directly addressed the EPA about the PFAS contamination in their area, was also extremely powerful. A common thread throughout the meeting was that, until the EPA establishes and enforces a national maximum contaminant level for PFAS, people across the country will continue to drink toxic water. Every day of inaction is another day of continued exposure. Overall, while this meeting marks an important first step in protecting our communities from harmful PFAS exposure nationally, it is only that: a first step. The EPA must continue to meaningfully engage with communities and turn those conversations into immediate action to protect our communities.

Fast forward to 9:06:10 time to see Mark’s presentation.

Left to Right: Mike Thompson (Abington Township Commissioner), Mark Cuker (Community Member, National PFAS Contamination Coalition), and Hope Grosse (Community Member, National PFAS Contamination Coalition) addressing the EPA during the listening session at the EPA Region 3 Community Stakeholder Meeting held in Horsham, PA on Wednesday July 25, 2018.

Left to Right: Cosmo Servidio (Regional Administrator, EPA Region 3), Joanne Stanton (Community Member, National PFAS Contamination Coalition), Mark Cuker (Community Member, National PFAS Contamination Coalition), Hope Grosse (Community Member, National PFAS Contamination Coalition), and Cecil Rodrigues (EPA Deputy Regional Administrator, EPA Region 3) at the EPA Region 3 Community Stakeholder Meeting held in Horsham, PA on Wednesday July 25, 2018.

Left to Right: Mark Cuker, Joanne Stanton, and Hope Grosse from the National PFAS Contamination Coalition presenting during the community panel at the EPA Region 3 Community Stakeholder Meeting held in Horsham, PA on Wednesday July 25, 2018.

Tracy Carluccio delivered a powerful statement, effectively indicting EPA and the DOD for decades of inaction. Her full statement is available by clicking here.