News Feature | August 28, 2014

Industrial Contamination Plagues New Jersey Water Wells

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


New Jersey residents have been drinking contaminated water. 

"The presence of perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) that has prompted five Gloucester County stop using public wells has now hit home for several township families...whose private wells have tested positive for the chemical," the Philadelphia Inquirer reported

The chemical appeared at dangerously high concentrations. 

"The amount of PFNA in Paulsboro's well has been described in a state report as being 'higher than reported elsewhere in the world' in drinking water studies. Another private well in West Deptford was found with 10 times that amount," the report said. 

A company called Solvay Specialty Polymers may be responsible for the release of PFNA. The plastics company, which has a local plant, used PFNA until four years ago.  

"Solvay is supplying [local families] with jugs of water as tests of private wells continue in West Deptford and East Greenwich for PFNA and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), part of an investigation the company is doing in cooperation with state and federal officials," the report said. 

"Solvay will continue to offer all property owners who participated in the sampling with bottled drinking water, free of charge while analysis of validated results is going on," said Solvay spokesman David Klucsik, the Cherry Hill Courier Post reported

State environmental regulators are considering stricter regulations for PFNA, the report said. They are also handing out charcoal filtration equipment to help local families, CBS Philly reported. Larry Ragonese, with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection "says PFNAs are what he calls an 'emergent' concern, meaning that state and federal regulators are currently evaluating it," the report said.

The EPA has its eye on PFNAs, but it hasn't regulated them yet. 

"Six perfluorinated compounds are currently being monitored under EPA’s Third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. The six PFCs that are being monitored under UCMR3 include: perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA) and perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS)," according to the American Water Works Association. 

Check out Water Online's Drinking Water Contaminant Removal Solution Center.

Image credit: "blue water texture," ErrorTribune © 2009, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license: