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Salisbury, Md. — In early February, elevated levels of the contaminant perfluorinated compound (PFC) were found in the Town of Blade, Del.’s drinking water. Further testing revealed that all three of the town’s drinking water wells were affected. Although there is no current EPA regulations regarding consumption, the limit detected was above the health advisory limit. Research shows long-term exposure to PFC’s can have multiple adverse health effects, including cancer, liver, and immune system impacts.

The Town of Blades’ Town Administrator, staff, Mayor, and Councilmen made the issue a high priority and immediately took action. With the assistance of Davis, Bowen & Friedel, Inc. (DBF), Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Emergency Response, Division of Public Health, Office of Drinking Water, Blades Volunteer Fire Company, Delaware Rural Water Association, Delaware Emergency Management Agency, and Delaware National Guard, water was supplied to citizens while the town worked to provide clean drinking water.

As the town engineer, DBF was onsite immediately and assisted the town with the installation and layout of the new granular activated carbon absorption system used to remove PFCs as well as aided the town with the flushing of the water distribution system to remove remaining water that may be contaminated with PFC’s. DBF is currently assisting the Town of Blades in securing funding for an addition to the water treatment facility that will serve as a long-term treatment for the newly discovered contaminant.

According to Principal Jason P. Loar, P.E. “We were glad to be in a position to assist the Town of Blades as they worked around the clock to provide clean drinking water during the recent emergency.”

From recognition of contaminants to providing reliably clean drinking water to the citizens of Blades took approximately two weeks, a remarkably short period of time considering the bureaucracies such situations often must navigate. The success of the effort even caught the attention of Erin Brockovich, a nationally known advocate for safe drinking water. “From discovery of contaminants to installation of a full blown Granular Activated Treatment system in less than two-weeks! Freaking Phenomenal!!!” exclaimed the movie’s namesake in a recent social media post.

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