During its meeting on September 4, 2020, the Military Installation Remediation and Infrastructure Authority (MIRIA) Board of Directors approved more than $2.5 million dollars in “Quick Response Grants” to local water and sewer authorities. The grants will help those authorities pass through reimbursements for surcharges applied to customers relating to the cost of remediating polyfluoroalkyl (“PFAS”) substances present in drinking water related to the presence of former military installations.
The Quick Response Grants represent preliminary grants to benefit the resident ratepayers. Additional grant requests are being evaluated and additional grant awards are anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2020. Pursuant to Act 101 of 2019, only Municipalities and Municipal Authorities are eligible for grants from the MIRIA Funds. The grants were awarded to Warminster Municipal Authority, Horsham Water & Sewer Authority, and North Wales Water Authority.
High Swartz Partner, Thomas E. Panzer, Esq., is a former Warminster Municipal Authority Board Member and municipal attorney appointed to the MIRIA Board by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Scott DeRosa is a local community volunteer and accountant appointed to the MIRIA Board. Meghan Schroeder is the elected State Representative for Warminster, Warwick, Ivyland Borough, and sections of Buckingham, Pennsylvania, and was instrumental in passing Act 101 creating the funding for the MIRIA Grants.
MIRIA was formed by Horsham Township in Pennsylvania under Act 101 of 2019. Introduced by State Representative Todd Stephens, the act was then signed into law by PA governor Tom Wolf in November of 2019.
MIRIA was created to protect local communities located near NAS-JRB Willow Grove and the former Johnsville Naval Warfare Center. These communities were negatively affected by PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination in their water supplies. The contamination can be traced to fire fighting activities and exercises using aqueous film-forming foam (“AFFF”).
Residents and water suppliers for the municipalities have spent millions on remediation efforts to protect the communities. Even with some financial assistance from the Navy and Air National Guard, the communities are still not fully reimbursed of the remediation costs. That is where Act 101 comes in.
Act 101 provides funding to reimburse water providers and their customers for remediation costs that may have been given to customers due to remediation efforts. The Act also makes state taxes available to MIRIA generated on specific parcels of land in Horsham Township commonly referred to as the “MIRIA Zone”. The zone consist of 58 parcels or about 1,787 acres of land in Horsham Township.