‘Forever chemicals' found in drinking water in local community

‘Forever chemicals’ found in drinking water in local community

CORAOPOLIS, Pa. — Manmade, potentially harmful chemicals were found in the drinking water in Coraopolis, according to a report from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The report indicated perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS chemicals, found in drinking water from the Coraopolis Water and Sewer Authority are among the highest levels in Pennsylvania -- but still below the federal health advisory level.

PFAS chemicals, also known as "forever chemicals," are resistant to heat, water and oil, according to the DEP.

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Levels of PFAS chemicals found in Coraopolis’ water top out at 12.9 parts per trillion. That’s lower than the Environmental Protection Agency health advisory level of 70 ppt, which CWSA officials said would be equal to one drop of food coloring in 18 million gallons of water.

CWSA officials stress the water is safe and people will not get sick from it.

“Coraopolis Water and Sewer Authority board has approved a plan, many months ago, to put in carbon filtration, which is the treatment option. Should this get to be worse, we would have that in place anyhow,” CWSA Chairman John Schombert said.

Still, some residents say the report is alarming and has them reaching for bottled water instead of drinking the CWSA’s water.

“I just don’t trust it,” Ashley Kirby, of Coraopolis, said. “I don’t like the taste of it. It tastes a lot of chlorine to me.”

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order in September 2018, establishing the PFAS Action Team to take steps to address PFAS and other contaminants. The results of the first round of drinking water samples were released last week.

"The results do not indicate widespread PFAS contamination," a news release said.

PFAS chemicals have been used in products like cookware, food packaging, carpets, clothing, furniture fabrics and firefighting foams.

Current studies are looking into potential health impacts from PFAS chemicals, including liver damage, thyroid disease, obesity and cancer.