May 31, 2022
On Thursday, May 26, 2022, six additional private water supply samples were collected. These included some confirmatory samples as well as new properties.
Sample results from the April 19-20, 2022 sampling have not yet been reported by the Bureau of Laboratories. DEP anticipates receiving these by June 14 if within the 6-8 week window stated by our laboratory.
Letters were sent to the 10 residents whose water supply wells tested at or above the 70 parts per trillion Health Advisory Level, and who did not have pre-existing whole-home treatment systems, providing them with the option to have a Point-of-Entry-Treatment system installed at DEP’s expense. We requested a response by June 15, 2022 in order to provide a list of properties to our contractor at the earliest opportunity, as they will have to visit each home to inspect the plumbing and availability of space for the system components.
DEP understands that several residents have expressed concern about the treatment system options and any requirements that may be attached. To address these concerns, DEP sent an e-mail to those who received the letters to provide additional information that may better explain our response and subsequent requirement to record an Environmental Covenant notice on their deed describing the contamination present and the mitigation provided by the treatment system. This is a requirement of the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program, which is the source of funding for the investigation and our response.
DEP’s contractor has submitted two contract Change Orders, along with work plans. One is for installation of the treatment systems in the 10 homes (plus a few extra in case any additional need arises) and the second is for collection of surface soil samples in the detention ponds and discharge points related to airport operations. DEP became aware of specific FAA requirements for security checks, training, and access to areas in an active airport setting and are working with PSU Airport Operations to complete these requirements.
Additionally, DEP is awaiting a third Change Order and work plan for installation of additional subsurface/surface soil borings as well as groundwater monitoring wells at locations both north and south of the airport property. We are in the process of drafting agreements for access to any properties where they may be located. Field analyses such as geophysical testing may be required prior to the final locations being set for the monitoring wells.
We anticipate a Summary Report from our contractor by the end of June, to be added to the Administrative Record files, that will compile all sample results and activities conducted to date.
The public hearing for the interim mitigation measures (the supply of bottled water and installation of treatment systems) is scheduled for June 28 at the Benner Township municipal building. As a reminder for all, although DEP will present a very brief recap of the work to date as part of the introduction, this is a public hearing to take testimony on the mitigation measures and not a public meeting to discuss the project in general or answer questions from the public.
Finally, DEP is including an updated map of samples collected to date for inclusion in the Administrative Record and website.
May 12, 2022
The Administrative Record is open for public comment between May 28, 2022 and August 26, 2022.
Administrative Record (PDF)
- Hard copies of the Administrative Record are available for public review at the Benner Township municipal building.
April 29, 2022
In continuation of DEP’s HSCA investigation into the PFAS groundwater plume in Benner Township, regional HSCA staff collected 10 private water supply samples during the week of April 18, 2022 for a total of 65 private supply well samples collected to date. For those homes with combined PFOA and PFOS concentrations at or greater than the EPA HAL of 70 ppt (parts per trillion), bottled water delivery has been arranged as an immediate, short-term alternate drinking water source. DEP intends to follow up the provision of bottled water with the installation of whole home treatment systems for those residents with water supply wells containing concentrations at or greater than 70 ppt who do not have an existing treatment system that is effectively reducing levels to below the EPA HAL.
Because DEP has initiated what is referred to as a “Prompt Interim Response” with the bottled water delivery, our response activities will be open for a 90-day public comment period, during which a public hearing will be held for residents to present oral comments. Any comments should be focused on the actions under the Prompt Interim Response and not on other actions the DEP is conducting. All comments, written and oral, will be included in a Public Comment and Response document following the public comment period that will be made available on DEP’s project website as well as sent to any commentors who have provided contact information.
In conjunction with the public comment period notification, an Administrative Record containing documentation of DEP’s response decision and alternatives considered will be made available for public viewing at both DEP’s project website, and at the Benner Township Municipal Building.
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Benner Township Municipal Building
Public Comment Period: May 28, 2022 – August 26, 2022
Written responses to all comments will be compiled and made available to the public following the end of the public comment period.
Notification for the public comment period and hearing will appear in the
PA Bulletin, the Centre Daily Times, and the DEP project website
April 15, 2022
The sample results from DEP’s March 22-24, 2022 sampling event have been received and the results provided to the individual property owners. Of the 34 samples collected in this round of sampling, 9 were found to contain PFAS (PFOA and PFOS) above the 70 parts per trillion (ppt also often reported in nanograms/liter or ng/l) Act 2 cleanup standard or HAL. In total 10 residential wells have exceeded the standard out of the 44 residential wells that DEP has sampled. All of the occupied homes without an effective drinking water treatment system are being provided with bottled water for potable use until treatment or an alternate water supply can be arranged. About twelve additional water samples, including both new locations and confirmation samples where the results showed a detection of PFAS below 70 ppt, are being collected the week of April 18, 2022. Should a residential well exceed the standard in the April 18 round of sampling they will also be provided bottled water. If the cleanup standards should change, as is proposed, the results will be re-examined and the residences above the proposed standard supplied with treatment or an alternative water supply. Determining the potential health risk related to drinking water in the investigation area continues to be our first priority.
Results from 26 soil samples collected on February 22-23, 2022 have been received and compiled. Initial evaluation indicates that, where detected, PFAS compounds tend to be higher in the shallow soil and are lower with increased depth. As DEP completes the residential drinking water sampling phase, further sampling of soil in various locations will be completed along with looking at potential surface water impacts. DEP’s contractor will compile all the information collected into a summary report once this phase of the investigation is completed. The summary report will be shared with the public on this website once it is finalized.
DEP has been in contact with the townships of Benner, College and Patton to keep them apprised of our investigation status and our investigation results and will continue to do so. Several updates have also been provided to local representatives and updates have been added to this website. We will continue to provide updates as information and sample data is received and the investigation progresses.
April 1, 2022
In late February and March 2022, DEP NCRO’s HSCA program staff conducted sampling at 42 private water supply locations. Results from sampling on February 23-24 were relayed to the property owners, and while PFAS compounds were detected in several samples, all were below current standards. Results from sampling on March 22-24 are expected in mid-to-late April and will be relayed to the property owners upon receipt. DEP’s HSCA contractor installed 13 soil borings in locations around the University Park Airport and High Tech Road properties on February 23-24. Results are in the process of being compiled and evaluated at this time. DEP reached out to additional property owners with no response; we will continue to try to contact these residents in order to collect samples of their supply wells, if they are interested. We are also evaluating additional spring and/or surface water and groundwater sampling locations that may be sampled in subsequent sampling rounds.