EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Controversy about the water quality in East Brunswick has recently been settled, thanks to a statement by Township Administrator Joe Criscuolo. Citizens raised concerns about the water following an October 2019 report from the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group.
The report covered over 270 harmful chemicals found in drinking water all over the country. Two of the chemicals found in East Brunswick water were found to exceed EWG guidelines, being over five times the rate suggested for chemicals by the EWG and posing a risk of cancer. The two chemicals, Hexavalent Chromium and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (or PFOA), caused a great deal of concern among East Brunswick residents worried about consuming potentially contaminated water.
In the time following the report’s release, however, East Brunswick Township has taken measures to reassure its citizens regarding these chemicals and that they are taking steps to deal with them properly. “East Brunswick Township takes its responsibility of providing safe, high quality water to all of our customers very seriously, and we continually invest in our system,” said Criscuolo in his statement. “Water provided by us is safe to drink.”
Criscuolo went on to cite routine water testing that occurs before water even enters East Brunswick water treatment facilities, insuring that harmful chemicals are removed from it before its consumption. They follow standards and schedules set by the New Jersey Department of Environmental protection along with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. If there are currently harmful chemicals in East Brunswick drinking water, it is not due to negligence in water testing.
He also noted that PFOA is a contaminant that has emerged only recently, and neither it nor Hexavalent Chromium are monitored by the NJDEP or USEPA. The EWG is also not an official government organization, simply a nonprofit, and Criscuolo stated that “The levels [of chemicals] cited are health goals, not regulatory requirements. They are levels at which there are no known health risks, but that does not mean that if you consume water over that level you will get sick.”
East Brunswick Township conducts regular reports on local water quality. Known as “Water on Tap”, said reports are meant to inform the public on where the water comes from, how it is processed, and how it is delivered. There is also the Annual Water Quality Report conducted every year, which is available for public viewing on the East Brunswick Water Utility website.