State Rep. Frank Farry announced Upper Southampton Municipal Authority has received a $586,591 grant from the Military Installation Remediation and Infrastructure Authority.
“For many years, Bucks County residents have faced the consequences of the federal government’s poor management of the former Johnsville U.S. Navy Naval Air Development Center,” Farry said. “The military has taken no responsibility for the removal of the PFAS that leached into groundwater water. This grant will help fund our communities’ effort to receive clean water, just as everyone else in the commonwealth.”
PFAS is a chemical once used by the military to extinguish fires that has been linked to several health issues, including cancer.
The Upper Southampton Municipal Authority has been awarded a $586,591 grant from MIRIA to extend water mains on several streets in the northwest section of Upper Southampton Township along Davisville Road, Street Road and County Line Road.
The area has been identified as the source of PFAS contamination, as it sits just less than 2 miles from NADC. With the grant funding, USMA plans to install more than 2,500 feet of water main along Laurel Road, Clover Circle and potentially Tulip Circle, which would provide public water to up to 40 homes.
“I appreciated the opportunity to participate in this grant and thanked the MIRIA Board for their work on making this possible. The USMA Board of Directors has made this a priority to connect these homes to public water,” said Herbert W. Schoell Jr., manager for the USMA.
When the federal government shut down the Willow Grove Naval Air Station in Montgomery County in 2006, surrounding counties, including Montgomery and Bucks, faced significant environmental issues and contamination of drinking water caused by firefighting foam once used at the military base.
Faced with insufficient federal action, local governments had no choice but to impose surcharges on ratepayers to fund cleanup efforts.
Act 101 of 2019, which Farry co-sponsored, created the MIRIA to help local water providers address PFAS contamination. State tax revenue generated on or around the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station is redirected to the locally based authority. It was the first bill enacted in Pennsylvania to provide dedicated funding to eliminate PFAS from drinking water.