The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposes adding a Montgomery County site to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites.
Located in Harleysville, the Baghurst Drive site consists of a residential area where ground water has been contaminated with volatile organic compounds for 15 years.
The contaminated ground water plume is affecting up to 42 residential water wells.
The announcement was made Thursday by officials in EPA's regional office in Philadelphia.
Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country to protect people’s health and the environment.
“Cleaning up these complex, contaminated sites is an important part of what EPA does to help create healthy communities,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin in a news release.
“Today’s proposal puts the Harleysville site a step closer to getting a permanent cleanup solution for protecting people’s health.”
In 1999, the local health department discovered the contaminated ground water plume while sampling residential wells. Bottled water was immediately provided and subsequently, carbon filtration units were installed at homes to treat contaminated well water.
The source of the contamination is still unknown.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection referred the clean-up to EPA because of the number of homes affected and because whole-house carbon filtration systems provided by the state "are not a sustainable solution for addressing the contamination."
A permanent alternative water supply is needed for homes, along with clean-up of the contaminated ground water plume.
EPA will be investigating the possibility of vapor intrusion into homes and buildings, depending on the type of structure.
EPA’s updated National Priority List includes seven contaminated sites across the country that have been added as Superfund sites, and five sites proposed for placement on the national list.
The Baghurst Drive site is among the five proposals and the only Pennsylvania site included in today’s update.
The Superfund program has provided important benefits for people and the environment since Congress established the program in 1980, said an EPA spokesman.
Those benefits are both direct and indirect, and include reduction of threats to human health and ecological systems in the vicinity of Superfund sites, improvement of the economic conditions and quality of life in communities affected by hazardous waste sites, prevention of future releases of hazardous substances, and advances in science and technology.