Bucks Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, R-8 of Middletown, received this week an inaugural “Champion” award from the Water Quality Association, a national trade association, for his work pursuing legislative solutions to drinking water contamination in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
“This is the first time we’ve presented awards to legislators,” said WQA spokesman Wes Bleed. “They’re meant to salute those public officials we believe are making water issues a top priority.”
The WQA represents approximately 2,500 members from the residential, commercial and industrial water treatment industries. According to a statement from the organization, Fitzpatrick was one of two recipients of the award for his sponsorship of legislative amendments relating to PFOS and PFOA drinking water contamination. Those chemicals were found in nationally high amounts in local drinking water supplies in 2014. But the problem is national in scope.
“Perfluorinated compounds have been found in communities surrounding over 600 military installations nationwide — including several in our own district,” Fitzpatrick said in press release. “My constituents have a right to safe, clean drinking water and they deserve to know if PFOS and PFOA have compromised their long-term health.”
As previously reported, Fitzpatrick was a key member of the Pennsylvania delegation, along with fellow Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-13, of Philadelphia, and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, who worked last year to include PFAS-related language in the annual military budgeting process.
The WQA touted Fitzpatrick’s work to include authorization for a nationwide health study on communities impacted by contamination, as well as his efforts to require the Department of Defense to issue a report on its progress in studying new, safer varieties of foam.
Also honored with a Champion award by the WQA was U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, who also worked on PFAS legislation and sponsored the Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act. That legislation is a “bipartisan bill that would establish a national strategy to coordinate the federal response to emerging contaminants” and support state responses, according to the press release.