Sanchez announces nearly $4M investment to help clean local water supply

HARRISBURG, Oct. 21 – State Rep. Ben Sanchez, D-Montgomery, today announced a critical investment of nearly $4 million through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority to address potential health hazards in a local public water supply.

The funding is part of a statewide announcement from Governor Tom Wolf addressing various drinking water, wastewater and non-point source projects across 12 counties.

In Sanchez’s 153rd Legislative District, a loan of $3,970,600 to Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. will go toward installation of two “anion resin exchange” vessels, a new well pump, plus upgrades to a chemical treatment system to address detected levels of perfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS).

“Since even before I was a state representative and in concert with other local officials, I’ve been working to make sure our community has safe, clean drinking water,” Sanchez said. “That has meant addressing the PFAS/PFOA contamination issues at the Willow Grove Naval Air Station and fighting to ensure that these crucial problems aren’t overlooked, swept aside or ignored. The investment announced today is hugely beneficial in the fight for clean drinking water.”

“I’m thankful for all the work that Representative Sanchez and the other dedicated officials from our region have put in to consistently and strongly advocating on the issue of PFAS,” said Congresswoman Madeleine Dean, D-Glenside. “The advocacy of so many leaders on what began as a little known but pressing threat to our health is now helping power an industry focus on PFAS as well as growing the national conversation on environmental justice and the important role that government and private interests have in delivering it.”

Funding for these projects originates from a combination of state funds approved by voters, Growing Greener, Marcellus Legacy funds, federal grants to PENNVEST from the Environmental Protection Agency and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards. Funds for these projects are disbursed after expenses for work are paid and receipts are submitted to PENNVEST for review.

PFAS have been detected in the public water supply for Aqua’s North Hills well station, which is currently offline to implement these remediation measures. In addition to the installation of the anion resin exchange vessels and a new well pump, the project proposes to install cartridge filtration and will include a new sodium hypochlorite feed system with a larger double-storage tank, plus separate ammonium sulfate and bimetallic phosphate feed systems, as well as new electrical equipment and piping to accommodate the upgrades.

“The goal of his project is to correct a potential health hazard occurring from the presence of PFAS contamination in the natural water supply,” Sanchez said. “I am grateful to PENNVEST and Aqua Pennsylvania for their continuing efforts in this endeavor.”