Clean tap drinking water

Bethany Crest residents can now drink and cook with water from the community's water system, officials said Nov. 8, after tests on the finished treated water showed levels of PFAS below advisory levels.

Results from samples taken from the water system serving residents of the Bethany Crest community near Millville returned test results that were below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Health Advisory Level (HAL) of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFAS in drinking water. Residents may resume normal use of the water, DNREC and the Division of Public Health (DPH) announced on Monday, Nov. 8.

Following a sampling that found the source water from Bethany Crest water system (before treatment) was near or at the HAL, DNREC and DPH acted quickly to sample the finished drinking water (after treatment) going to residents.

Samples taken by DNREC showed that an ion exchange treatment that had already been in place for the Bethany Crest water system had been successful in removing PFAS from the community’s drinking water. Out of an abundance of caution, DPH had advised Bethany Crest residents to use bottled water provided by the water system owner for drinking and cooking while the finished water samples were being tested.

Testing results from an Oct. 23 sampling for PFAS in the Bethany Crest water system showed that the ion exchange treatment had removed PFAS to significantly below the health advisory level of 70 ppt, officials said. The results also indicated that, while other wells and public water in the area sampled within a 1-mile radius of Bethany Crest showed PFAS detections, all were below the EPA health advisory level.

Bethany Crest is a manufactured housing community with a small water system serving approximately 50 homes. The sampling of source water was collected as part of a proactive screening of public water sources throughout the state being conducted by DNREC, officials noted.

DPH officials said they were continuing to work with the system owner to identify long-term strategies that can be implemented to ensure the risk to residents does not increase in the future.

Meanwhile, DNREC’s Remediation section conducted an assessment to identify potential sources of the contamination, and DNREC will open an investigation immediately into locating the source or sources of the PFAS detected in the Bethany Crest water system.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals used in industry and consumer products. Due to their extensive use in these products over time, PFAS are found in people, wildlife and fish, and are known as “forever chemicals” because some PFAS can stay in people’s bodies a long time and cause health problems with long-term exposure.