BLOOMFIELD, NJ -- The Township of Bloomfield announced that recent tests of 61 local homes found that 46 samples passed all state regulations, while 15 of them exhibited elevated lead levels, most likely due to old infrastructure within the homes such as lead piping or lead contained within older faucets and plumbing fixtures, not the township’s water supply. The testing is part of the Township’s lead sampling program which is required by the EPA and NJDEP to sample for lead as well as a continued effort by the township to proactively identify lead risks and help residents reduce their chances of lead exposure through public notices and outreach.

Mayor Michael Venezia and the Township Council will be holding a Public Meeting on Monday, August 13 at 7:00 p.m. in the Media Center of Bloomfield Middle School, to discuss the findings and how residents can reduce their risk of lead exposure. Township engineers and officials from the Health Department will be on hand to answer any questions.

“The Township of Bloomfield, the Department of Engineering and the Department of Health and Human Services are working to help residents become more aware of lead threats and how to reduce their risk of lead exposure,” said Paul D. Lasek, Township Engineer. “We have done extensive testing on the township’s water supply which did not detect elevated lead levels, but household testing is continuing to show that some older homes in the community still have lead-based plumbing fixtures, which can cause lead buildup in water.”

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The Township is continuing to offer free lead tests to any residents concerned about potential lead build-up in their homes. Residents can schedule a test or get additional information by calling 973-680-4009.

High lead levels found in drinking water can more often than not be attributed to older infrastructure within the houses, as is the case with most communities which have older houses that have not received full plumbing replacements in recent years. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated faucets and fixtures with lead solder, from which significant amounts of lead can enter into the water, especially hot water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder.

NJ Department of Environmental Protection and EPA mandates require municipalities to issue public notices if tests show elevated lead levels. Township officials will continue to test lead levels over the next year and will be taking several steps to inform residents of the situation, including a public notice that will be mailed to all water system users.

No cases of lead poisoning from contaminated water exposure have been reported in Bloomfield, and township schools were recently tested for lead and levels were below legal limits. The Bloomfield Health Department is encouraging residents to take steps to reduce their risk of lead exposure by following EPA guidelines and flushing their faucets for 15-30 seconds before drinking water and using lead certified water filters.

“We can all take simple steps to reduce our risk of lead exposure and the Department of Health and Human Services is available to any resident who has any questions about these precautions,” said Karen Lore, Bloomfield Director of Health and Welfare. “Running water for 15-30 seconds before drinking, using cold water only for cooking and using water filtration devices are all simple things we can all do to make sure our families are protected.”

The Bloomfield Water Department will be mailing public education information to all water customers as well as providing this information on the township website. It is recommended that all residents thoroughly read this information to better understand the sources, causes and solutions to addressing lead in their water.