South Orange Village President Responds to Water Controversy


SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Village President, Alex Torpey, has released a statement regarding the recent controversy surrounding the East Orange Water Commission:

Dear Resident:


Sign Up for E-News

You have undoubtedly heard or read of the indictment of high ranking officials (Executive Director and Assistant Executive Director) at the East Orange Water Commission (“EOWC”), the provider of drinking water to South Orange.  The news accounts of this event have referenced the presence of tetrachloroethene, a volatile organic compound (VOC), in the Village’s drinking water.  It is the purpose of this letter to address and alleviate any concerns concerning the safety of our water, to advise you how these events evolved and what the Village has been doing and will continue to do to ensure the continued safety of our drinking water.

Before I continue I must note: Water in South Orange is perfectly safe to drink. This is confirmed by independent testing the Village has conducted as well as the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Our testing results are posted on our website.


With respect to the safety of our drinking water, you should know that the Trustees have not relied upon the test results published by EOWC.  Ever since the Trustees first suspected a VOC problem, more than two years ago, the Village has conducted its own independent periodic testing, both concurrently with those of EOWC and at random other times.  In addition, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has also engaged in its own independent testing. The Village, through our legal counsel, has continually consulted with DEP to share information and to confirm that VOC limits did not exceed the levels permitted by DEP, and you can view all of the testing results on our website at

It’s also important to know that the standards established by DEP in New Jersey are among most stringent in the nation.  For example, in neighboring New York state, and by federal EPA standards, safe drinking water is acceptable with a VOC concentration five times that permitted in New Jersey.  From the DEP regarding the VOC levels that were (but are no longer) present in our water, “(The levels are) not high enough to shut anything down or to cause a safety issue for folks, but enough to say, ‘Hey wait, you’re over our standard, you need to figure out what’s causing it and you need to take some action.’” The DEP confirmed that the VOC levels which were in violation were within federal safe drinking water standards. Both the Village and DEP will continue to monitor the water to assure continued safety, and if any safety concern arises, residents will be contacted immediately through reverse 911 phone calls and emergency notifications.


All residents should understand that the indictment of Mr. Mansmann and Mr. Mowell did not come as a surprise to the Village.  Village Counsel was fully engaged with DEP, knew that a criminal investigation was in process and in fact provided critical evidence which led to the indictments.  Our counsel continuously informed the Trustees of these events, but because of the sensitive nature of the information, on-going litigation between the Village and EOWC, and criminal investigations by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, such information could not be made public.

The release of the indictments is not an end to this matter, but rather brings us closer, in a big way, to a final resolution. As we have advised the public, nearly two years ago litigation was commenced against the EOWC to force it to install equipment on its wells to remove VOCs.  That litigation continues, and even before the announcement of indictments, the Village was able to force the EOWC to take steps to secure and install such equipment.  The EOWC has now issued requests for proposals and shortly expects to entertain bids to provide both short- and long-term solutions to the VOC problem.  Village Counsel is working with what is called a Special Master, an oversight individual appointed by the Court, that has been actively engaged in assuring that this process is being pursued appropriately.


I hope that this information addresses your concerns both with regard to water safety and progress made to permanently resolve this issue. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any questions at 973 378 7715 x2 or by email at

Very truly yours,


Alex Torpey
Village President

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News



AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


Maplewood Police Blotter - Thefts from Unsecured Vehicles Reported

May 25, 2018

May 14 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours electronics and coins were removed from two unsecured vehicles parked on Lexington Ave.

May 14 - Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours a wallet and other items were removed from two unsecured vehicles parked in a driveway on Princeton St.

May 18 - Burglary; During the daytime hours a home on the 500 block of Richmond ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Two Arrested and Charged with DWI

South Orange Police Blotter as of May 24

Theft of Bicycle - A South Orange resident reported that sometime between 5:45 a.m. and 1:20 p.m., Tuesday, May 22, actor(s) unknown stole his black & white Gary Fisher mountain bike, which had been locked and secured to the bicycle rack under the main train station.

Commercial Burglaries - Two adjacent West South Orange ...

South Orange's Spiotta Park is Renovated and Ready for Summer

May 26, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The community came out on Wednesday to celebrate the newly renovated and revitalized Spiotta Park, which at the corner of South Orange Avenue and Village Plaza, is in the heart of downtown South Orange.

Matt Glass, Chair of the South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA) Board of Directors, welcomed all and shared his gratitude to those who worked together to ...

Maplewood and South Orange Events for Memorial Day Weekend - and What's Closed

MAPLEWOOD AND SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - There is a lot going on in the two towns this Memorial Day weekend, as well as some closures on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.


The Maplewood Community Pool opens at noon for the 2018 season. (The South Orange Community Pool is opening June 2, details here.)

Downtown After Sundown presents "Jazz on ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, May 27, 11:00 AM

The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, Maplewood

Memorial Day Colloquy: What We Honor and How We ...


Thu, May 31, 5:30 PM

Arden Courts, West Orange

Living with Alzheimer's for the Middle Stage ...

Education Health & Wellness


Thu, May 31, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Millburn

Rocky Marciano, Jr. Unveils Rocky Marciano Wine ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Fri, June 1, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

Marines Land at Millburn High School

May 26, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ – After getting rained out last year, United States Marines successfully landed four military aircraft on the Millburn High School football field on Friday under sunny skies. At 10:00 am an MV-22 Osprey, a CH53 Super Stallion Helicopter, a UH-1 Huey Helicopter and an AH-1 Super Cobra Helicopter touched down to create static displays for the students to explore and interact with ...

Domestic Violence Prevention Advocates SOFIA Honors Local Leaders During Annual Gala

WEST ORANGE, NJ - More than 200 supporters gathered at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange on Sunday to celebrate 9 years since the founding of S.O.F.I.A (Start out Fresh Intervention Advocates).

Founder Cynthia Walker and the gala committee of Chaz Moore, Kelly Moore, Lisa Boyd and Ida Walker pulled out all stops incorporating the color of purple throughout the venue for ...

A.J. Perri Helping Veterans in Need - Again

May 24, 2018

TINTON FALLS, NJ – A.J. Perri is back helping veterans in need – this time launching a search for veterans and their families through a partnership with ABC-TV.

As part of the A.J. Perri Cares Program, a lucky New Jersey veteran and their family will receive air conditioning/heating relief this summer.

"They fought for our country, and their families sacrificed," said ...

Vehicular Homicide Charges for Driver of Paramus School Bus

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The driver of a school bus involved in a crash on Route 80 last week that killed two people faces two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide/death by auto, it was announced today.

The driver, Hudy Muldrow, 77, of Woodland Park, attempted to make an illegal U-Turn on the highway in an attempt to find his way to Waterloo Village, the planned destination of the bus that was ...

SOMA Two Towns for All Ages to Host Transportation Summit on June 6

May 26, 2018

On June 6, SOMA Two Towns for All Ages will host a Transportation Summit with speakers and vendors focused on transportation options for older residents.Come and hear about the important role transportation plays in an individual’s independence and health.  

Learn more about the South Orange and Maplewood Senior Bus services. Sign up for classes by AAA, NJTIP, and more.  alk to ...

Free Adult Health Screenings at the Maplewood Library on Wednesday, June 6

Free Adult Health Screenings    

Wednesday, June 6           

10:30 am-noon at Main Library 

Blood pressure and carotid bruit screening, medication, weight & health counseling, Open to Maplewood residents 18 and older. Staffed by Maplewood Health Dept. nurses. Drop in.

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace - and a Memorial Day Coupon

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:          

Wheatgrass Shot  $2.99 (Bakery)
Corn 4/$2.99
Roasted Vegetables $7.99lb(Prep Food)
Boar’s Head Beef Pastrami  10.99lb(Deli)
Cooked Shrimp $17.99(Ashley Fish Market)
Cave Aged Gruyere $16.99lb ...