Contact: Pat Robinson, Raritan Headwaters Association
908-234-1852, ext. 324 (office)
908-285-0290 (cell)

For Immediate Release: Latest Raritan Headwaters’ water quality testing, analysis show “disturbing” rise of arsenic, other pollutants in private well water

Preliminary findings to be addressed at Nov. 7 State of Our Watershed Conference

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New Jersey State Climatologist David A. Robinson Featured Speaker

Bedminster, NJ -- What you don't see or taste in your water may very well be hurting you, and over-development and climate change could be the key culprits, according to preliminary findings from Raritan Headwaters Association's Long-Term Trend Analysis of Groundwater Pollutants.

The findings, along with those of the  2014-2015 Stream Monitoring and Community Well Testing Program, will be presented at RHA's State of Our Watershed Conference, to be held 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Oldwick Firehouse, 163 Oldwick Road.

The morning’s featured speaker will be New Jersey State Climatologist Dr. David A. Robinson, who will discuss the impact of climate change on the Raritan Basin.

The annual State of Our Watershed focuses on the health of the region's water quality. This year, testing results suggest that climate change could be spurring rising levels of arsenic and other harmful pollutants.

Droughts are often affiliated with a changing climate, and the Raritan headwaters region is under a drought watch issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). When droughts occur, aquifers become depleted, the lack of water contributing to the rise in such contaminants like arsenic and nitrates.

Climate change is also exacerbating the damage caused by over development, which alone heavily contributes to water supply depletion and rising pollutant levels, a problem RHA has been concerned about for some time.


For these reasons, both Kristi MacDonald, RHA Director of Science, and RHA Bill Kibler, RHA Director of Policy, agree the state needs to raise the bar when monitoring water quality as well as quantity.

MacDonald calls the latest results “disturbing. Arsenic and nitrates are creeping up. It’s likely regulations protecting water quality need to be strengthened.”

Kibler says he’s “appalled but not shocked by the results. It’s been evident to the state they have issues in some areas, but they’re ignoring it,” says Kibler. “It’s become recently clear to the DEP that arsenic is more widespread and serious geographically, and our data suggests the problem is getting worse.”

The State of Our Watershed conference is free and open to the public.

Those who pre-register online and attend the conference will also have the opportunity to win a 9-foot Emotion Spitfire 9 sit-on-top kayak donated by Ramsey Outdoors.

For more information, visit

About David A. Robinson

Dr. Robinson has been the state’s climatologist since 1991. His lengthy and esteemed career in academics and climate research have earned him many honors and awards, including the 2008 “Environmental Hero” award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

He is a professor in the Department of Geography at Rutgers University, a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and a national associate of the National Research Council of the National Academies. He earned his Bachelor of Science in geology from Dickinson College, and graduate degrees in geology from Columbia University.

About Raritan Headwaters Association

Since 1959, the South Branch and Upper Raritan Watershed Associations served as effective advocates for conservation throughout the 39 communities in Hunterdon, Morris, and Somerset Counties that make up the Raritan Headwaters region.  The merger of these two organizations in late 2011 strengthens their ability to address today’s water quality issues and meet the enormous challenges to protect and provide clean drinking water for future generations.  The 470-square-mile watershed is home to approximately 400,000 people, is a vital component of the Highlands’ water supply system, and contains large areas of undeveloped, environmentally significant land.  To learn more about the Raritan Headwaters Association, please or call (908) 234-1852.