Willow Grove residents concerned over contaminated water

WILLOW GROVE, PA (WTXF) - Hundreds of concerned residents turned out in Willow Grove.  They all want to know... How safe is their drinking water?

It comes after wells throughout their area were shut down. Officials say they are contaminated.

FOX 29's Chris O’Connell was in that packed meeting Tuesday night.

“My child had tumors on both kidney’s, both lungs and her liver”

One by one residents approached the microphone.  Each  of them with a more heart breaking health story than the next.

“In my own house myself there has been 2 members with cancer. I myself in addition to that have a brain tumor” said another Horsham resident.

Nearly a thousand residents packed the auditorium at Upper Moreland High School to explain mysterious decades long health issues many believe were caused by contaminated drinking water.

One thing is for certain. Well water around Horsham, Warrington and Warminster has been contaminated for years.  Nearly half of the drinking water wells in the area have been shut down after high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid or

(PFOA) were found in well water samples. 

The contamination is centered around residents who live near 2 former military installations. Willow Grove Naval Air Station and the Navel Warfare Center in Horsham.  The toxic chemicals were used extensively there in fire fighting foam material for years up until 2010.  Many residents believe their health issues are a direct result of the contaminated water.

“You are scared to turn the tap on”  said Willow Grove resident Shaun Hauser.

Hauser, 40, says he lives with an unexplained auto immune disorder since he was 17 years old.   Hauser says he knows 37 people who live in the area with similar issues. He now worries about his children.

“I got a 9 year old son and a 4 year old daughter that everyday I am putting in the tub and washing their clothes, I’m running scared”

The community meeting was organized by New York law firm Weitz and Luxenberg who is spear heading a class action lawsuit against the chemical makers. The firm is joined by famed consumer advocate Erin Brockovich who addressed the meeting via webcam.

“You have all been hit really hard. But I do want you to know to stay vigilant. To stay informed and we do have help and support’ said Brockovich.

Residents have been assured their municipal water supply is now safe and meets EPA required safety standards. But most have been drinking contaminated water for decades and wonder if the damage has already been done.

“People have had injuries from this chemical. And they a have a remedy. They should have a remedy under the law so I foresee us filing a lawsuit” said attorney Robin Greenwald.

Residents who live in the area are being told by attorney’s to get their water tested and get blood tests to check for health issues. 

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