THURMONT, Md. (DC News Now) — After testing the drinking water in Thurmont last year, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) found PFAs – also known as “forever chemicals.”

In the case of Thurmont, MDE shared sampling results showing elevated PFAS levels in drinking water with the town. MDE also recommended a series of actions and information on applying for funding. Thurmont took the well with the highest PFAS detections out of routine use, started quarterly monitoring and applied for funding to install treatment.

The recent proposal from the U.S. EPA on enforceable drinking water standards for PFAS will give MDE an additional tool in the effort to identify and eliminate PFAS contamination from drinking water supplies across the state. Because MDE has tested drinking water from all community water systems in the state, Maryland is well-positioned for continued progress as the proposed standards are considered.

Statement from MDE

John Kinnaird, the town’s mayor, said a new filtration system is being implemented to remove them.

“We’re in the process still of getting a company to give us a price on the filtration equipment we need. They were here last week, getting all the volumes of the wells that we have so they could match the required filtration system to the volumes of water we use. We’re moving forward on that filtration so we can get it down to undetectable levels,” said Kinnaird.

A filtration system is being added to each of the 3 treatment facilities in Thurmont to remove PFAs and PFOs.

This comes amid the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposing the first federal limits on harmful “forever chemicals” in drinking water. The move is a long-awaited one.

Zach Schafer, the senior advisor for the office of water for the EPA, said this would keep people safe.

“Safe drinking water is fundamental to healthy people and thriving communities. We rely on it from the moment we wake up and make a cup of coffee to when we brush our teeth at night and we believe that every person should have access to clean and safe drinking water,” said Schafer.

Thurmont residents voiced their concerns, but many said they’re happy the town is making the right steps forward.

“I’ve lived in my house here in town for 43 years, and I live right in the city limits, so I’ve always been on well water. I have no idea what that means for me personally and the effect of it on my water. It’s something that I’ve actually been worried about,” said Elizabeth Wildasin.

“I think that’s wonderful that we’re getting rid of them and as a grandmother of a young child, I think that the governments in the whole country need to get together and study this issue because from what I understand it’s a nationwide problem,” said Wildasin.

The EPA plans to finalize the new rule by the end of this year.