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PFCs in Blades water back to safe levels

Katie Peikes
Delaware Public Media
The carbon filtration system behind Blades Town Hall.

Two weeks after finding wells in the Town of Blades to be contaminated, state officials say the water there is safe to drink once again.

Last week, the town received a carbon filtration system to treat its drinking water.

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Division of Public Health got the test results from that system back and say it has lowered Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in the town's three municipal wells to levels that are safe to drink. DNREC said more than 450 homes and businesses are hooked up to those wells.

Residents can use their taps for drinking and cooking again, once they flush their home water systems. For single-family homes, that includes running their faucets for 10 minutes and flushing all toilets one time.


Sen. Tom Carper (D) visited Blades on Thursday to see the carbon filtration system. A spokeswoman for Carper said he tried the water and gave it a thumbs up.


For Town Manager Vikki Prettyman, it's a relief that Blades residents can drink their tap water again. She said though the town learned a lot from the situation over the last two weeks, it was challenging to deal with.

"We’re public servants. Our citizens are our focus. Making sure we’re able to provide clean drinking water is a priority for the town," Prettyman said. "We did not want to inconvenience our citizens for any longer. We wanted to find a resolution and have this filter system put in so we could provide that clean drinking water for our citizens to cook with."

The state worked with the Delaware National Guard to provide Blades residents bottled water for the past two weeks while the new filtration system was installed.

Credit Courtesy of Katie Wilson and Sen. Carper's office.
Sen. Tom Carper (D) tries the Town of Blades water.

Blades residents Diane Rhone and Jan Hummer said they were very impressed with the way the situation was handled and happy the town, DNREC and DPH provided daily updates as they worked to fix the problem.


"We kind of expected it would take a long time [to fix the water] and it's only been two weeks," Rhone said. "That time frame was impressive."


When DNREC tested Blades' three municipal wells, they found levels of PFCs more than two times the Environmental Protection Agency's human health advisory of 70 parts per trillion and immediately notified the town. Blades' wells had PFCs between approximately 90 to 190 ppt.

"Quite honestly, we weren't quite alarmed because the levels were not so terrifying," Hummer said. "We're very pleased with the way the town handled everything."

Hummer said the biggest inconvenience over the last two weeks was that she and Rhone couldn't use ice from their refrigerator ice maker because it is connected to their water line.


"I was down at Royal Farms buying two bags," Hummer said. "We had to empty all of our ice."


Now that the town is on a new carbon filtration system, Prettyman said she is confident the water won't have any future problems with contaminants. After the carbon filtration system was installed, test results showed PFCs to be at 3.4 ppt.


"I'm very proud that we were able to come together and get this system in so quickly and just work as a great team," Prettyman said.

The state continues to provide Blades residents on private wells with water for cooking and drinking as they wait for test results on those wells to come back.


This story has been updated.


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