Last year, a borough-commissioned study by David Blackmore Associates, a Royersford engineering firm, found that the landfill could not be the source of the contamination because even higher concentrations of PCE were found in a well that is uphill from the landfill.
After reviewing the study, the DER said Thursday that it concurred.
"While it (the landfill) is not the major source, there may be some contribution of PCE from the landfill," said Chris Novak, a DER spokeswoman. ''We don't expect the borough to continue sampling and maintenance on the individual wells. Our water-quality management folks will continue to investigate possible sources of contamination."
In other words, the source of the water - carcinogenic if not filtered - is undetermined. Blackmore Associates' 1993 study had pointed to several area businesses that could be responsible, including the Phoenixville Hospital.
But the landfill does have a high metal concentration, and as such the borough has 30 days to submit a plan for groundwater monitoring.
Borough Manager Donald Whitman said he hoped the responsible party would have to pay. "I would love to see the borough refunded for all the money it spent on legal and engineering fees just to prove we weren't the source," he said.