The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is getting tens of thousands of dollars in federal money to fight PFAS contamination.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it's giving $58,544 to the department for planning, development and implementation of a regulatory structure to address emerging contaminants with a focus on PFAS compounds.
The EPA lifetime health advisory for exposure to PFAS chemicals is 70 parts per trillion.
Over the summer, it was discovered that four wells by Dover Air Force Base were contaminated with high levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Dubbed "forever chemicals," the compounds are found in a variety of products including Teflon and firefighting foam, used at the be base, and are nicknamed as such because they never break down. The EPA has linked the chemicals to a multitude of health conditions including cancers, autoimmune disorders, and birth defects. Last month, heightened levels of toxic chemicals were also identified in two additional wells near the base. Though test results are still awaiting confirmation.
Bottled water has been provided by the base to all customers of those wells.
The EPA also gave the Delaware Department of Natural Resources $112,168 to enhance its division of quality monitoring network and to manage PCB pollution at the A-Street Ditch in Wilmington. The Delaware Department of Agriculture received $53,219 to fund nutrient management planning for farms.
The funds, from the EPA's Multipurpose Grant program should help address high-priority environmental issues like combating contaminants such as PFAS and lead, air and water monitoring equipment, testing radon in schools, and conducting outreach and education in areas such as pesticides application and harmful algae blooms.
“EPA recognizes the important role of states and local governments in protecting the health and future of our communities,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “This funding enables partners like Delaware to carry out activities that address their environmental and public health priorities.”
General questions about the health effects from, and exposure to, PFAS should be directed to the Delaware Division of Public Health at 302.744.4546.