Important water safety update for Central NJ residents
Residents in Ewing, Hamilton, Hopewell, Lawrence and Trenton continue to express concern and ask questions about the quality of their tap water after the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection initiated direct operational oversight at Trenton Water Works last month.
The action was taken after years of contamination problems at TWW, including elevated levels of parasites and discolored water flowing from taps.
According to DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, the oversight action was necessary because an in-depth analysis determined there were significant and ongoing public health and safety concerns at TWW.
He was quick to point out however this is not a state takeover.
“It is an effort to assist the Water Works in insuring that it comes into and maintains compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act,” he said.
Lots of issues to monitor
He said the oversight involves monitoring a number of trouble spots that have been identified and providing on-the-ground assistance to correct any issues that arise to ensure the communities served by Trenton Water Works “have consistent and reliable safe drinking water feeding their families and taking care of themselves.”
He pointed out one area of particular concern is the open-air Trenton Water Works reservoir.
“That means open to the potential of being infected by bacteria or other contaminants," he said. "It needs to be watched critically and ultimately replaced.”
He said that another significant issue that needs constant monitoring is part of the water pipeline distribution system where different types of bacteria, including Legionella, can potentially arise and cause problems.
How to keep tap water safe
LaTourette said maintaining a healthy water environment at TWW is a little like putting together a puzzle with multiple points of risk.
“You’ve got to fit all the pieces together in the right way in order to deliver that safe, clean reliable water.”
He stressed while the system needs constant monitoring and must be updated, “the water sample results that are submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection by Trenton Water Works reflect that the water system meets applicable water quality standards.”
He said in order to keep the water safe, the entire system at TWW will need careful oversight for the foreseeable future “so that the public has sustained confidence in the security of their water supply."