SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The Village water samples tested in the month of April have been determined to contain levels of the volatile organic compound (VOC) tetrachloroethylene that do not exceed the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDP) allowable amount.
Ever since the March 2011 citation the NJDEP issued to the East Orange Water Commission (EOWC) for exceeding the allowable concentration of tetrachloroethylene, residents and government officials have been concerned about the safety of the drinking water in town, which is provided by the EOWC.
NJDEP standards for the maximum concentration limit of the VOC are 1 µg/L (micro-grams per liter), equivalent to 1 part per billion, with any measurement of 1.5 µg/L or higher constituting a violation. The NJDEP’s 2011 Notice indicated that the EOWC’s 12-month average based on water samples collected through the first quarter of 2011 was 1.54 µg/L for tetrachloroethylene.
The Village has now posts on its website the concentrations of tetrachloroethylene found in samples taken from two locations, the EOWC finishing plant at the Millburn Pump Station (this is the official sample taken by EOWC and reported to the NJDEP) and from the tap at the Crest Drive firehouse which is, according to the Village website, “a blend of the EOWC water and water from Well #17 in South Orange, and is more indicative of the water that is actually distributed by EOWC within the Village.”
Since February 2012, the Trustees have directed that samples at this location be tested (independently of EOWC’s sampling) twice each month. The result of the EOWC testing and the Village’s independent testing for the month of April are as follows:
EOWC – 4/2/2013: 1.42 µg/L; 4/8/2013: 0.94 µg/L; 4/24/2013: 1.24 µg/L.
South Orange Village – 4/22/2013: 0.603 µg/L; 4/26/2013: 0.998 µg/L.
While these levels do to not rise to the level of a NJDEP violation, they are high enough to warrant continued monitoring. The Village has indicated that if the levels rise to a point that they would be in violation and cause a health concern, they would “immediately notify all affected water customers.”