Millville mobile home community residents asked to use bottled water after test reveals forever chemicals

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Residents of a small mobile home community in the Millville area in Sussex County have been advised to drink and cook with bottled water.

The Delaware  Division of Public Health issued the guidance to residents of the Bethany Crest community in Millville to use bottled water for drinking and cooking while their water system is evaluated for a concentration of PFAS near or at a health advisory level for drinking water. 

PFAs, sometimes known as “forever chemicals,” are widespread in Delaware and are reduced through water treatment.

Bethany Crest is a manufactured housing community with a small water system serving approximately 50 homes. On October 21,  DPH received notice that a water sample collected on October 11 showed source water in the system serving Bethany Crest with a concentration of PFAS at 70 parts per trillion, which is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency health advisory level for these compounds in drinking water.

The sample was not the finished drinking water after treatment. The sample was collected as part of a  screening of public water sources throughout the state being conducted by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). In recent months, two previous Bethany Crest samples had found concentrations near the advisory level, prompting repeat testing for confirmation.    

The owner of the community and the water system operator was notified Friday and agreed to provide bottled water to residents as recommended by DPH as a precaution. 

DPH and DNREC are working with the Bethany Crest water system operator to test the finished drinking water going to homes to determine whether current treatment methods for the system may already be reducing the PFAS levels from the source water. Samples of finished drinking water from Bethany Crest and the source water samples from other wells in the area will be taken this weekend and submitted to a laboratory for analysis.  

Due to their extensive use in these products over time, PFAS are found in people, wildlife, and fish. In addition, some PFAS can stay in people’s bodies for a long time and cause health problems with long-term exposure.  

One source of PFAs has been airports where firefighting foam is used. 

 

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