Bed­min­ster cou­ple says health con­cerns were ig­nored

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Keeler

$ GHFDGH DIWHR fiRVW warn­ing about the pos­si­ble neg­a­tive im­pact of a then-planned neigh­bor­ing de­vel­op­ment, Bed­min­ster res­i­dents Barry and Mary Rogers now say their fears have ma­te­ri­al­ized.

The about 100-acre sub­di­vi­sion at Deer Run and Fretz Val­ley roads was ap­proved in 2002. That’s the same year Barry Rogers sent a let­ter to the town­ship ques­tion­ing if the town­ship re­views of the plans pro­vided ad­e­quate pro­tec­tions.

In 2009, Mary Rogers was di­ag­nosed with Non Hodgkins Lym­phoma, then ear­lier this year, with a sec­ond can­cer, Fol­lic­u­lar Lym­phoma, the cou­ple said. In 2009, Barry Rogers was di­ag­nosed as hav­ing lost 60 per­cent of his kid­ney func­tion, they said. There have also been other cases of can­cer in the neigh­bor­hood in re­cent years, the Rogerses said.

They say con­tam­i­na­tion in their and neigh­bor­ing wells, caused by a large drop in the well’s wa­ter level af­ter the de­vel­op­ment was built, is sus­pected of lead­ing to their can­cer.

“What you have here is a flDwHG LPSDFW VWuGy DOORwing a guy to go in and build 11 homes which over­taxed the aquifer,” Barry Rogers said fol­low­ing the Aug. 8 Bed­min­ster Town­ship Board of Su­per­vi­sors meet­ing.

An her­bi­cide com­monly used by farm­ers in the town­ship has also been linked to can­cer, the Rogerses said dur­ing the meet­ing.

“As far back as 2009, I brought to the board’s at­ten­tion that I am hav­ing prob­lems with my well, in­clud­ing in­creased sedi- ment, low wa­ter pres­sure and a be­yond safe ar­senic level that had not ex­isted be­fore the de­vel­op­ment,” Mary Rogers wrote in a state­ment she read aloud dur­ing the pub­lic com­ment por­tion of the meet­ing.

The town­ship, how­ever, did noth­ing to help out then or since, the Rogerses said.

“We and our coun­sel are con­vinced that the board has ig­nored my re­quest for our well re­me­di­a­tion be­cause to ac­knowl­edge my well prob­lem will link the in­creased lev­els of ar­senic, my de­vel­op­ing two forms of can­cer and their lack of due dili­gence which led to the ap­proval for the de­vel­op­ment,” reads a por­tion of the state­ment, copies of which were dis­trib­uted at the meet­ing.

“You didn’t want to talk to us. You dug in your heels,” Mary Rogers said dur­ing dis­cus­sion at the meet­ing.

Board mem­ber Glenn Wis­mer, how­ever, said the town­ship has done its job.

“We feel sorry for your health prob­lems, but we feel as a town­ship, we’re not re­spon­si­ble for that,” Wis­mer said. The town­ship didn’t fiQG DQy HYLGHQFH WHH GHYHOop­ment caused the prob­lem, he said.

The Rogerses also ques­tioned why the town­ship RHFHQWOy PDGH D fiQDQFLDO set­tle­ment to re­solve well is­sues with one neigh­bor far­ther away from the de­vel­op­ment, but then put a “gag or­der” on it so other neighERRV wRuOGQ’W fiQG RuW.

“How naive are these peo­ple that thought this wouldn’t get out?” Barry Rogers said.

Town­ship So­lic­i­tor Peter Nel­son said, though, that there was no ef­fort to keep the agree­ment with the neigh­bor a se­cret.

“There is no gag or­der,” Nel­son said. “He can talk to you about the agree­ment. He can give you a copy of the agree­ment.”

The money for the set­tle­ment came from a fund re­quired to be set up by the de­vel­oper, not from tax money, Wis­mer said.

Board Chair­man Mor­gan Cow­perth­waite said the board could not give an an­swer at the Aug. 8 meet­ing on whether well re­me­di­a­tion fund­ing would be pro­vided, but said the Rogerses could meet with Town­ship Man­ager Jack Terry to dis­cuss the mat­ter. The Rogerses said they are frus­trated with years of be­ing ig­nored and de­clined to meet with Terry.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, the Rogerses said Mary’s treat­ment has in­cluded chemo­ther­apy and bone mar­row trans­plants, ne­ces­si­tat­ing lengthy hos­pi­tal­iza­tions at Johns Hop­kins Hospi­tal in Bal­ti­more, as well as Barry’s tem­po­rary move to that area as her care­taker.

The cou­ple has been us­ing bot­tled wa­ter for drink­ing, but con­tin­ued to use the well wa­ter for other pur­poses, which led to ad­di­tional health prob­lems, in­clud­ing rashes, they said.

A re­me­dial two-tank sys­tem that will deal only with the ar­senic is be­ing in­stalled at the home.

“Each tank is about $1,500. De­pend­ing on your us­age, they’ll last six months to a year,” Barry Rogers said. “It’s like adding $3,000 to your tax bill.”

The big­gest is­sue, though, isn’t the money, he said, but the health prob­lems that his wife has had in the past few years.

“When my wa­ter was clean, she was clean,” Barry Rogers said. “In my opin­ion, it’s too much of a co­in­ci­dence.”

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