FAQ for New Hope Water System Public Notice – May 2024

Updated: May 22, 2024

You are not affected if you DO NOT receive your drinking water from BCWSA.

This is NOT an emergency situation, and you may continue to drink the water.  This notice only applies to customers served by the New Hope Water System – it does not apply to customers in the Solebury or Fox Run Preserve Water Systems. 

BCWSA works diligently to deliver the highest quality drinking water to its customers.  We invest in replacing and upgrading aging infrastructure and continuously make improvements to ensure that we meet upcoming water regulations.  Sometimes circumstances beyond our control may affect the quality of the drinking water.  One such situation occurred in the New Hope Water System and a public notice was issued.  A copy of the public notice can be found here.

Why was a public notice issued?

A new regulation was issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) in January of this past year for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).  The regulation set the maximum contaminant level (MCL) at 18 parts per trillion (18ng/L) for PFOS and 14 parts per trillion (14ng/L) for PFOA.  Compliance for these compounds is based off a running annual average (RAA) that is calculated quarterly.  Because BCWSA has known about the upcoming regulations, testing for these compounds began prior to the regulation being issued.  When results were received for the second quarter of 2024, PA DEP calculated a RAA ahead of the anticipated schedule.  When this was done, one of the entry points in the New Hope System had a RAA that exceeded the new MCL for PFOS of 18ng/L.  The calculated RAA found in your water was 21ng/L.

Am I in the area affected by this public notice?

If you receive water from BCWSA and reside in the borough of New Hope or in the Riverwoods area, you are within the affected system.  Residents in Solebury Township or in the Fox Run Preserve area are in different water systems and are not in the affected system.

If you are unsure if this notice applies to you, please call us at 215-343-2538 to determine if you are within the service area affected by this notice.

What are PFOS and PFOA?

PFOS and PFOA are chemicals that are part of a larger group referred to as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  These are human-made chemicals and do not occur naturally in the environment.  They have been used to make items that are resistant to water, grease, or stains such as cookware, carpets, and packaging.  They are also used in industrial processes and in firefighting foams.  Since these substances are resistant to heat, water, and oil they persist in the environment and in the human body.  Due to the prevalence of PFAS in consumer products, it is likely that most people have been exposed to these substances through other sources besides drinking water.

What are the health effects of PFAS?

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has identified the following health effects as potential outcomes from exposure to PFAS:

  • Changes in cholesterol and liver enzyme levels
  • Small changes in infant birth weight
  • Changes in the immune system and response to certain vaccines
  • Increased risk of preeclampsia or high blood pressure in pregnant women
  • Increased risk of certain cancers (i.e., kidney and testicular)

What should I do?

This is not an immediate risk.  However, exposure to PFOS and PFOA over the MCL may result in adverse health effects.  Drinking water containing PFOS in excess of the MCL of 18ng/L may cause adverse health effects, including decreased immune response.  If you have specific health concerns, consult your doctor.

What is BCWSA doing about this?

In anticipation of the new regulations, BCWSA has been conducting PFAS testing and investigating treatment options for their removal.  A study was concluded last month on a new technology utilizing samples of BCWSA’s water.  We are expecting to have pricing and a full report on the study before the end of May and move forward with a permit application for a treatment process.  Once PA DEP approves the permit, installation and treatment can begin.

What should I do if I have more questions?

Below are some links to various sources of information on PFAS.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) info on PFAS

PA DEP info on PFAS MCL Rule

ATSDR info on PFAS

The content of this website is for general information purposes only. The Authority tries to provide content that is true and accurate as of the date of writing; however, the Authority gives no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness, or applicability of any of the contents. The originals of any documents referenced in this website shall take precedence in the event a conflict exists between information contained on this website and the information on original documents. BCWSA assumes no responsibility for the information contained in this website and disclaims all liability with respect to such information.

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