Is toxic water in the vicinity of the former Naval Air Station Willow Grove and the Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster making people sick?
That’s the concern three area congressmen raised Thursday in a letter to the Navy demanding answers about the government’s knowledge of the water issues.
“Residents who consumed the contaminated water have understandable concern that these chemicals, which studies show can cause serious illness, are the cause of their own health conditions,” wrote U.S. Reps. Patrick Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick, both Republicans, and Democrat Brendan Boyle.
Redevelopment plans for the Willow Grove base have been delayed since elevated levels of perflourinated compounds, which have been linked to cancer and reproductive issues, were discovered.
Although the federal government has been working with local officials to provide filtration for affected drinking wells near the former bases in Montgomery and Bucks Counties since 2014, Thursday marked the first time the congressmen publicly raised health concerns on behalf of residents.
Perfluorooctane sulfonate was commonly used in firefighting foams at Willow Grove and at the Warminster facility. Both bases have been closed for years, and the EPA did not begin requiring local agencies to test drinking water for those compounds until 2014.
“We believe it is imperative that affected families in Warminster and Horsham have a complete understanding of when and how the Navy determined the nature of the well contamination, as well as its response to it,” the congressmen wrote.
A spokesman for the Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.
The letter asked the Navy to provide information about exactly when the contamination was discovered, when contaminated wells were taken off-line, and what steps were taken to notify residents about potential health problems.