O’Neill, Watson Introduce Bill to Help Protect PA Residents from Contaminated Water Supplies
HARRISBURG – In response to ongoing water contamination issues in Bucks County communities, Reps. Bernie O’Neill (R-Warminster) and Katharine Watson (R-Warrington) today introduced legislation to help expedite state and federal assistance to municipalities with contaminated drinking water supplies.

“The water contamination situation in Warminster, Horsham and Warrington has made us realize that we are limited in our ability to fully address these types of community-centered concerns,” O’Neill said.

House Bill 1640 would allow a Pennsylvania governor to make a declaration of disaster emergency, naming any community as a “special drinking water resource-impacted community” when analyses indicate the presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in ground water or surface water measured at or exceeding 15 parts per trillion.

“With this declaration, a governor could prioritize state and federal assistance to a certain area, similar to the way a massive natural disaster like a flood is handled. A swift response is necessary to ensure the well-being of our residents,” O’Neill added.

“Sadly, our ongoing communication and work with the federal government have yielded little progress, as agencies are not stepping up to the plate as they should to appropriately respond to our communities’ concerns,” Watson said. “It’s time to try and force the federal government to take action, and our legislation seeks to expand our state’s power in times of disaster. We look forward to working with our colleagues to get this quickly enacted into law.”

PFOA and PFOS were discovered in public and private drinking wells at and around the former Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster Township and former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Horsham Township, as well as the Horsham Air Guard Station. The substances, which were determined to be a result of firefighting training activities at the bases, impacted drinking supplies in Warminster, Horsham and Warrington townships, Bucks County.

Representative Bernie O’Neill
29th District
Representative Kathy Watson
144th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Abbey Haslam

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