John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Environment Category

Upper Makefield Township Offers Tree Rebates

UMTree Grants 

Available for Spring Plantings from April - June or Fall Plantings from September -November 

Upper Makefield Township (UMT) announces availability of a limited number of tree planting grants. The UMTree Grants target the following areas of reforestation: 

  • Riparian Buffer Areas (properties located near streams/creeks) 
  • Properties Impacted by Severe Weather and Flooding 
  • Properties Promoting Wildlife Habitat 
  • Thermal Protection of Homes (shade in the summer and wind barriers in winter) 

All property owners are eligible to apply for rebates, per the following guidelines: 

  1. UMT will reimburse up to $50/tree (total tree cost, plus shipping) for Pennsylvania native trees, $25/tree for tree planting, and $6/tree for deer protection. 
  2. The maximum reimbursement per parcel will be $975 or up to 12 trees. 
  3. UMTree Grants are limited in availability and will be awarded on a first come/first served basis. 

These grants are funded through contributions from local land developers and not through tax dollars. 

Any tree that appears on the following list is eligible for reimbursement: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources Native Plant Landscaping brochure 

Reimbursement requests must be submitted to the Township as soon as possible after planting with the required documentation listed below. All requests are subject to review by Township staff, the Environmental Advisory Council and the Board of Supervisors. 

UMT reserves the right to refuse payment if grant specifications are not met. 

If you have questions about tree species or size, please contact codeoffice@uppermakefield.org  or call the Township office at 215-968-3340. 

All grants are on a first come/first served basis, and please note there are a limited number of grants available. 

Posted on 29 May 2021, 01:39 - Category: Environment

Newtown Artesian Water Publishes Q4 2019 PFAS Test Results

After the Newtown Artesian Water Company (NAWC) sent a letter to residents in February 2019, that PFAS Definition - perfluorinated compounds - were detected in Newtown's water, Supervisor Mack requested that Mr. Dan Angove, NAWC General Manager, return to report on the situation. Mr. Angove complied and presented the Q1 2019 test results at the May 8, 2019, Board of Supervisors public meeting (read "Update on PFAS in Newtown's Water Supply").

At that meeting, Mr. Angove promised that NAWC would test Newtown's water sources for PFAS every quarter and publish the results on its website. The 2019 fourth quarter (Q4) results are now available. I created the following charts to show the levels of PFAS in relation to different Minimum Contamination Levels (MCLs Definition) and the trends.

There are several conflicting standards for what is considered the MCLs for perfluorinated compounds in drinking water. In April 2019, PA Sen. Maria Collett, D-12, of Lower Gwynedd, introduced S.B. 581, which would create an interim drinking water standard for four types of PFAS at 10 parts per trillion.
Q1 2019 through Q4 2019 PFAS Levels in Wells 14 and 18. Out of abundance of caution, NAWC is using water from Wells 14 and 18 exclusively for "Emergency Services"; e.g., fire hydrant use.
Lower MCLs Are Needed Say Experts

There are several conflicting standards for what is considered safe levels for perfluorinated compounds in drinking water. Breana Hashman, a staff scientist and program manager with the Clean Water Action/Fund, an environmental advocacy group recently wrote an opinion piece in the Bucks County Courier Times in which she said:

"Science may not yet be able to predict an individual’s health risks from exposure to PFAS, but in the interim, we have a pretty good idea what communities could potentially face, based on epidemiology studies from around the world. These studies have shown that communities with long-term chronic PFAS exposure from contaminated drinking water tend to have higher than national rates for a number of chronic or life-altering diseases.

"This is enough evidence to warrant interim measures for these communities, such as temporary lowered maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFAS in drinking water that were enacted by municipal water authorities in Warrington, Warminister and Horsham," said Hashman.
Further Reading

Posted on 19 Mar 2020, 11:50 - Category: Environment

Newtown Artesian Water Publishes Q3 2019 PFAS Test Results

After the Newtown Artesian Water Company (NAWC) sent a letter to residents in February 2019, that PFAS Definition - perfluorinated compounds - were detected in Newtown's water, Supervisor Mack requested that Mr. Dan Angove, NAWC General Manager, return to report on the situation. Mr. Angove complied and presented the Q1 2019 test results at the May 8, 2019, Board of Supervisors public meeting (read "Update on PFAS in Newtown's Water Supply").

At that meeting, Mr. Angove promised that NAWC would test Newtown's water sources for PFAS every quater and publish the results on its website. The 2019 third quarter (Q3) results are now available. I created the following charts to show the levels of PFAS in relation to different Minimum Contamination Levels (MCLs) and the trends.

There are several conflicting standards for what is considered the MCLs for perfluorinated compounds in drinking water. In April 2019, PA Sen. Maria Collett, D-12, of Lower Gwynedd, introduced S.B. 581, which would create an interim drinking water standard for four types of PFAS at 10 parts per trillion.
Q4 2018 through Q3 2019 PFAS Levels in Wells 14 and 18. Out of abundance of caution, NAWC is using water from Wells 14 and 18 exclusively for "Emergency Services"; e.g., fire hydrant use.
Lower MCLs Are Needed Say Experts

There are several conflicting standards for what is considered safe levels for perfluorinated compounds in drinking water. Breana Hashman, a staff scientist and program manager with the Clean Water Action/Fund, an environmental advocacy group recently wrote an opinion piece in the Bucks County Courier Times in which she said:

"Science may not yet be able to predict an individual’s health risks from exposure to PFAS, but in the interim, we have a pretty good idea what communities could potentially face, based on epidemiology studies from around the world. These studies have shown that communities with long-term chronic PFAS exposure from contaminated drinking water tend to have higher than national rates for a number of chronic or life-altering diseases.

"This is enough evidence to warrant interim measures for these communities, such as temporary lowered maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFAS in drinking water that were enacted by municipal water authorities in Warrington, Warminister and Horsham," said Hashman.
Further Reading

Posted on 28 Oct 2019, 10:27 - Category: Environment

PFAS in Drinking Water: The Science Behind Minimum Risk Levels

Drinking water has been identified as a substantial source of PFAS Definition exposure for many populations, particularly those living near contaminated sites, including Newtown Township (read “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”).

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) proposed a lifetime health advisory level for PFOS+PFOA Definition of 70 ng/L* in drinking water in 2016.

In 2018, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in the United States further lowered the Minimum Risk Levels (MRLs) for PFOS and PFOA by approximately an order of magnitude compared to the reference dose (RfD) used by the U.S. EPA to develop the 2016 lifetime advisory.(Ref 1) Drinking water advisory levels corresponding to the MRLs used by ATSDR would be 11 ng/L for PFOA and 7 ng/L for PFOS.

Some lifetime drinking water advisories proposed by other state and international agencies include up to 11 or 12 PFASs (Sweden and Denmark) and range from less than 10 ng/L up to hundreds to thousands of ng/L for different PFASs in Canada.(Ref 2)

Notably, Grandjean and Burdz-Jorgensen(Ref 3) estimated the lifetime drinking water advisory level should be less than 1 ng/L based on the benchmark dose for immunotoxicity associated with PFAS exposure for children in the Faroe Islands.

* X ng/L (nanograms per liter) is equivalent to X ppt (parts per trillion)

References

1. ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls: Draft for Public Comment, June 2018 Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, GA: Available: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp200.pdf [Accessed: 31 August, 2018], 2018.

2. Health Canada. Health Canada’s Drinking Water Screening Values for Perfluoroalkylated Substances (PFASs). February 2016, Ottawa, ON. Available: http://scottreid.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Health-Canada-PFAS-Screening-Values-Fact-Sheet-EN.pdf [Accessed: 20 August, 2018]. 2016.

3. Grandjean P, Budtz-Jorgensen E Immunotoxicity of perfluorinated alkylates: calculation of benchmark doses based on serum concentrations in children. Environmental Health 2013; 12: 35.

4. EWG. “The Science on PFAS: Rebuttal to 3M’s Claims” Available: https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2019/09/science-pfas-rebuttal-3m-s-claims [Accessed: 14 September, 2019]

How Concerned Are You About the Quality of Your Drinking Water?

Please take a few minutes to tell me YOUR opinion of several issues - including drinking water quality - that are of importance to you. After you complete the survey, you will be able to see the summary of results. No comments or other identifying information is included in the summary. Your comments & personal information are confidential and will not be revealed to any 3rd-party.

NOTE: THIS IS NOT A NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP APPROVED SURVEY. IT IS SOLELY A SURVEY POSTED BY JOHN MACK ACTING AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN.

Posted on 11 Oct 2019, 01:50 - Category: Environment

Newtown Township Revises Pollution Reduction Plan After Hearing Resident Comments

At the June 12, 2019, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, Michele Fountain, the Township Planner, responded to resident comments regarding the proposed Pollution Reduction Plan (PRP). The comments were made at the May 8, 2019 BOS meeting (see the video here and a summary of that meeting here) and submitted by mail and email. The plan is required to meet the requirements of PA Dept of Environmental Protection (DEP) to reduce sediment from flowing into streams and lakes.

This video explains why a plan is needed:

On May 23, 2019, a Bucks County Herald story by reporter Steve Sherman was published with the headline "Residents Want to Dump Meadow Conversion Plan.” This is a particularly misleading headline bordering on "fake news!"

Residents DO NOT want to "dump" the meadow conversion plan, which is the essence of the PRP. Almost all the comments by residents addressed the plan as it applies specifically to Roberts Ridge Park, which is a 22.8 acre park located at Frost Lane and Lower Dolington Road. 

Roberts Ridge Park is a unique COMMUNITY park surrounded by densely populated housing developments. Residents in the area use the open space in the park every day - especially the large area that was ORIGINALLY converted to a meadow WITHOUT any input from local residents. The Township claimed it was only converting "under utilized" park areas to meadows. The residents disputed that claim with regard to Roberts Ridge Park.

As a result of resident input the meadow plan was ALTERED for Roberts Ridge Park as shown in the following aerial view.

The original meadow area is outlined in yellow. The revised area in red.

As a result, we have a better plan and offers of help from environmentalists. 

Ms. Fountain noted that she has done similar work for quite a few other municipalities and "this by far beats any other municipality [regarding] residents' comments on the plan. It's a compliment to Newtown residents and how vested they are in the plan."

All the public comments regarding the Pollution Reduction Plan and the responses by the Township to these comments/questions can be downloaded here.

The Story That Lead to All This

 

Posted on 18 Jun 2019, 01:35 - Category: Environment

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