locally owned since 1854

Suez will test borough water for chemicals; HIA was already under investigation for PFAS

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 5/28/19

Suez, the private company that operates Middletown’s public water system, plans to sample water in the borough’s system in the coming months to check for the presence of chemicals known …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Suez will test borough water for chemicals; HIA was already under investigation for PFAS

Posted

Suez, the private company that operates Middletown’s public water system, plans to sample water in the borough’s system in the coming months to check for the presence of chemicals known as PFAS.

Suez is now scheduling when the sampling can be done, Suez spokeswoman Ghilianie Soto told the Press & Journal on May 1.

Known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS are a group of manmade chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries in the United States and worldwide since the 1940s, according to the EPA website.

PFAS are or have been found in consumer products such as cookware, food packaging, and stain repellents. PFAS manufacturing and processing facilities, airports, and military installations that use (or used) firefighting foams are some of the main sources of PFAS.

According to EPA, studies indicate that PFAS chemicals can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals. The chemicals have caused tumors in animals.

EPA says the most consistent findings are increased cholesterol levels among exposed populations, with more limited findings including low infant birth weights, effects on the immune system, cancer, and thyroid hormone disruption.

Middletown’s public water system was sampled for PFAS in 2015, Soto said. No levels of PFAS were detected, she said.

Suez plans to sample again now as a proactive measure, Soto said. Suez is not required to sample for PFAS, she added.

The federal government has not set a maximum containment level for PFAS.

The administration of Gov. Tom Wolf is planning to set its own maximum containment level for PFAS. The state April 12 also announced plans starting in May to test water from more than 300 public water systems throughout Pennsylvania to check for the presence of PFAS.

The state is not identifying which systems are being sampled until after testing is done and results are posted to the DEP website.

Middletown would seem a likely candidate for sampling, given that part of Harrisburg International Airport is located in the borough.

Located on the former Olmsted Air Force Base, HIA is one of 19 sites in Pennsylvania that was already under investigation for the presence of PFAS before the state announced its plans to sample water from the public systems.