Update on Newark Water including both Lead and Haloacetic Acid Issues - 8-16-19

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Update on Newark Water including both Lead and Haloacetic Acid Issues

In light of media coverage of the Newark water situation, on Tuesday morning my office spoke with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) Commissioner Catherine McCabe, along with Belleville Mayor Michael Melham and Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia to discuss the ongoing water issues in Newark, its impacts on all three neighboring communities, and the appropriate responses to these issues.  We also spoke about our efforts to upgrade our infrastructure, not only in Nutley, but in all three communities.

To be clear, the water we all receive from Newark is lead-free, and safe to drink. Lead is only introduced into the water supply by the internal plumbing or through service lines.

Later Tuesday afternoon we also had a conference call with the Governor’s office, the NJ DEP, the City of Newark and various elected officials to get the facts as it pertains to Newark and their lead testing.

Test results from the tap water of older homes with known lead plumbing performed on August 9, 2019 have shown that a small sample of water filters (2 of 3) provided to the City of Newark may not be removing lead to the low levels expected.  These tests are inconclusive as to the effectiveness of these water filters, not only because of the small sample size, but other factors in a non-controlled environment.

The Nutley Water Department is operating under an excess of caution and will be doing expedited water testing of the PUR filters we have purchased for distribution.

As we await follow-up testing from our Water Department and the other municipalities, it must be noted that the PUR filter is certified by the NSF to remove both lead and haloacetic acid from tap water (www.pur.com).

Until this additional testing is completed, residents who are pregnant or have small children are advised to use bottled water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula.

Further decisions will be made about the best course of action as soon as we receive the additional testing results back.  We are working closely with the Governor’s office, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the NJ DEP, the City of Newark, and the water filter manufacturer.

In addition, the Nutley Water Department strongly encourages all residents as a matter of habit to run their water for 1-2 minutes, especially first thing in the morning, in order to introduce fresh water into their homes.

What has Newark Water been doing to address both corrosion control and Haloacetic Acid levels?
As of May 7, 2019, Newark Water installed and began operating a new temporary corrosion control treatment system to replace the one that is no longer effective. As of August 13, 2019, as part of the City of Newark's initial filter testing their engineers are already seeing reduced lead levels in homes based on the addition of orthophosphate. Newark is optimistic that the orthophosphate will eventually provide the protective coating necessary to prevent lead from leaching from any lead pipes. Experts expect to see a further reduction in lead levels in those homes by the end of this year if enough orthophosphate is circulated within the system.

On July 9, Newark began addressing the disinfection byproduct (haloacetic acid) levels by introducing potassium permanganate and moving their pre-chlorination location.  These changes have already resulted in the lowering of haloacetic acid to below the allowable limit. We will update you as we receive further results from Newark and the results of our own testing within the Township.

What is the Township of Nutley doing?

  1. Expedited testing of the PUR water filter we purchased.
  2. Started the replacement of all known lead service lines as part of our long term infrastructure upgrades.
  3. Initiated a study to determine the steps needed to have the 436 homes receiving Newark water switched to a different water supplier.
  4. Offering free testing of the tap water in any of the 436 homes receiving Newark Water.  Please call the Nutley Water Department at 973-284-4984 to find out how to have your water tested for lead.
  5. Offering free testing of children (0-18) for lead by the Nutley Public Affairs Department (Health Department).  Contact Public Affairs at 973-284-4976 or your healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead if you are concerned about lead exposure.

What can you do?

  1. Continue to introduce the new corrosion control treatment into our water system by continuing to use all fixtures in your home – which includes showering, flushing toilets and washing dishes.
  2. Run water for 1-2 minutes to introduce fresh water into your home before using, as noted above.
  3. Identify and replace any lead plumbing fixtures and lead pipes in your home.
  4. Do not boil water in an effort to reduce lead.  Boiling water will not reduce any potential lead.

If you have further questions, contact Dominic Ferry, our Licensed Water Operator, at 973-284-4984.

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