EAST PROSPECT, Pa. — Earlier this week, residents of Lower Windsor Township received a postcard in the mail. In it, the township was advising residents not to wade in Kreutz Creek after toxic substances were discovered.
As the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection investigates the matter, one man believes he knows the source of the toxic substance.
"There's other stuff in the creek that doesn't belong here," said John Bowser of East Prospect.
John Bowser’s relationship with Kreutz Creek goes back several generations. His grandfather first built his property next to the creek, and John spent much of his childhood playing in the water.
“The creek was clean back then," said Bowser. "When I was a kid, I would fish in the creek, catch frogs and turtles, and that sort of thing.”
After a long career as a physicist, John and his wife returned to his grandfather’s land for retirement. When he returned, he saw how much the creek changed, with the water having a noticeably dark brown color.
He decided to find out why.
“A while back, I did some testing, and we found toxins in the creek that don’t belong here," said Bowser. "There is one toxin that I happen to be an expert at, it’s Perfluorooctanoic acid.”
Perfluorooctanoic acid is also known as PFOA. The chemical has been found in other bodies of water, as well as a variety of land and sea animals. It's referred to as a 'forever chemical,' meaning it doesn't break down.
John says the chemical is being dumped in the creek by a nearby landfill.
“Modern Landfill dumps its Leech-8 into the creek, and it’s been doing it for years.”
A video shot by John was sent to FOX43. The video shows a black substance being dumped from a discharge pipe into the creek by that landfill.
“You see this black liqud coming out, its hot and steaming," said Bowser.
John says he’s heartbroken by the state of the creek and hopes by raising awareness that more can be done to protect the land his family loves.
“Our grandchildren, we would love for them to enjoy this," said Bowser. "And maybe not necessarily come back and live here, but have an appreciation for places like this.”
FOX43 reached out to the Department of Environmental Protection for this story. A spokesman said the agency is looking into the situation and will provide more information at a later time.