PFNA Found in Camden County Town Drinking Water
BELLMAWR, NJ (October 17, 2019)--Residents of Bellmawr, Camden County, were notified by their borough that their drinking water contained levels of PNFA that exceeds the safe level that the state is monitoring at. Bellmawr’s water tested 19 parts per trillion for PFNA, where NJ’s standards are 13ppt. Just 8 miles away from Bellmawr is the Solvay Solexis Specialty Polymers plant where most of New Jersey’s PNFA pollution is centered.
“The fact that Bellmawr’s drinking water has exceeded safe drinking standards for PFNA should be an alarm bell going off. This is a serious issue, especially because repeated exposure to this chemical can lead to development defects in children and pregnant women, liver and kidney problems, and even tumors. The DEP need to step in and help Camden County find where this toxic chemical is coming from. The Solvay plant responsible for major PFNA contamination is only miles away from the Bellmawr. The town and DEP need to move quickly, however, because the borough is relying on their only water supply stations,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
West Deptford, where the Solvay plant used PFNA, is home to some of the highest levels of PFNA contamination in the world. Recent testing around New Jersey have found PFNA above the new standard 13 times in municipal water systems, according to NJDEP. Of those, 11 occurrences have been tied to the Solvay pollution. In March, the DEP and Attorney General identified Solvay as one of five companies responsible the extensive contamination, directing them to fund millions of dollars in assessment and cleanup efforts.
“It is important that the Borough is taking steps to make sure residents have safe water to drink, however the town and the state need to be doing more. The DEP need to take immediate steps on mitigating this critical issue and hold polluters accountable. This means making sure that remediation efforts and clean up plans are done right for the Solvay plant. PFNA contamination from Solvay has been responsible for getting into 11 New Jersey water systems. This is a serious concern. The state needs to put force into enforcement to protect our drinking water, and the people of New Jersey,” said Tittel.
In February of last year, (DEP) officially adopted amendments to the Ground Water Quality Standards, including adoption of a stricter standard for Perfluorononanoic Acid (PFNA). The Drinking Water Quality Institute had recommended at Maximum Contaminant Level for PFNA in July 2015 at 13 ppt, which is the standard adopted by the DEP.
“It’s good that New Jersey was the first state to come up with the strictest standard for PFNA. We believe, however, that the standard of 13 ppt should be lower to a more protective standard 5 ppt.. Because the state has a stricter standard, it shows that we need to act more on getting these chemicals out of our water. DEP also need to move forward on making stricter standards for other toxic chemicals in our water like PFOs. The Drinking Water Quality Institute hasn’t met this year, it is critical that they have a meeting soon so that DEP can adopt their recommendations. The longer we wait, the more at risk our drinking water will be,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “DEP need to move quickly to protect our drinking water, it’s too important for our health and the environment.”