News Feature | September 11, 2017

No Permanent Fix In Sight For Lead In Drinking Water

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online

NJ.Reg

Although it’s been months since lead contamination issues in Flint, MI made national headlines, communities around the country still struggle with dangerous drinking water finding its way into homes.

For instance, northern New Jersey is currently in the midst of a lead contamination crisis.

“A public service campaign is ongoing to alert residents that higher than allowable lead concentrations were again found in drinking water in some borough homes and businesses,” according to MyCentralJersey.com. “Officials say the source of the lead is not the water produced at the New Brunswick Water Treatment Plant, which services the town, but rather fixtures and solder that may be in use in households, businesses and other buildings.”

This is not a new concern for the town of Milltown, NJ. In July of last year, water customers were told that three homes that participated in a lead and copper sampling program had unacceptably high levels of lead. A subsequent test that ended last December showed that about five of the tested homes had high levels of lead in their water.

“This is two times in the last three years that Milltown has reported levels above 15 parts per billion,” said Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, a gubernatorial candidate from the Green Party. “We’re concerned about the residents of Milltown. We don’t think that Milltown is a singular instance at all. We believe that this issue of lead in the water is true throughout the state.”

But despite the repeated problems, MyCentralJersey.com did not report on any efforts being undertaken by the city to address the fundamental infrastructure problems that cause lead contamination. Instead, residents are being informed that running their faucets and testing their own drinking water are the best measures to take for now.

As much of the country deals with the same fundamental issue, municipalities and their customers continue to debate which entity is responsible for service line repair or replacement. Only the resolution of that debate will bring about a lasting fix.

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Image credit: "7-10-16, Milltown, New Jersey.,” th1sguy1102 © 2016, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/