Bloomfield’s Drinking Water: Notice Regarding Trihalomethane Levels (Updated)

Update: From Paul Lasek, Town Engineer, regarding the notice mailed to residents of the Bloomfield township:

The vast majority of the language was provided by the NJDEP and approved prior to the notice being mailed. Also, the Township does not treat or chlorinate its water. This is done by the City of Newark wherein we have an agreement to acquire our potable water.

While this is a new notice, the first two paragraphs reference a previous period when the Township exceeded the TTHM levels. Residents were previously provided a notice of this.

The current notice is for an excess level of TTHM’s that occurred in the second quarter of 2012, when the NJDEP required Stage 2 Monitoring to begin. This occurred at two of the four monitoring locations in Bloomfield. One of those locations is at Bukowski Place while the second location is at Evans Road. The other two locations are Daka Court and Upper(North) Broad Street. These locations have continually been below the maximum level.

I have provided the records of the Stage 2 Monitoring. As you can see by these records, all locations are now under the maximum limit of 80 parts per billion. The main reason for providing this is to demonstrate that the levels in all locations are currently below the maximum level of 80 parts per billion. I will be meeting with NJDEP representatives in Trenton, along with our water operator to further discuss a plan of action to avoid these intermittent higher levels.

Please note that every quarter, the township provides these levels immediately to the NJDEP upon receipt. There is a constant dialogue as to what the township is required to do to deal with levels that exceed the required limits. This notice, provided at this time, was done as a result of this dialogue and at the direction of the NJDEP.

Also, the notice indicates that health issues resulting from TTHM’s requires constant consumption of water over many years with levels exceeding 80 parts per billion. This is not, nor has it ever been, the case in Bloomfield for as long as this testing has been required.

 

Editors Note: According to the records of Stage 2 Monitoring provided by Lasek, the level of trihalomethanes measured at Bukowski Place, while declining in the 4th quarter of 2012 down to 48 parts per billion, is still at the maximum running annual average of 80 parts per billion.

Bloomfield Township last week sent notices to some residents warning that the level of trihalomethanes (chemical contaminants that are by-products of chlorination) in their drinking water exceeds federal standards.

The flyer, slipped under the door of some apartment dwellers, and mailed to other residents, states: “This is not an emergency…You do not need to boil your water or take other corrective actions. If a situation arises where the water is no longer safe to drink, you will be notified within 24 hours.” However, it does not state how residents will be alerted.

Particularly concerning to some residents is the warning in the flyer: “People who drink water containing trihalomethanes in excess of the MCL (maximum contaminant level) over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.” Bloomfield’s “total trihalomethane” (TTHM) problem was first identified in April 2011.

The notice also warns, “People with severely compromised immune systems, people with an infant, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.”

The current flyer, dated December 28, 2012, is the most recent of several notices distributed. Here’s the notice from Feb. 2012, and the Baristanet post we ran at the time. The Bloomfield Water Department is required to continue to issue notices until results show the running annual average of trihalomethane to be below the MCL. The standard for the compound in drinking water is 80 parts per billion. Bloomfield’s water averaged 83 parts per billion from April 2011 through March 2012. The notice states: “Testing since April 2012 has shown the average TTHMs levels are above the MCL at two of four locations.”

Bloomfield Township Engineer Paul Lasek says those two testing locations are 61 Bukowski Place and 127 Evans Road. When asked what the Township is doing to bring down levels of the contaminant, Lasek responded: “Our water is supplied by Newark and we do no treatment. These chemicals occur when the circulation of the water is not moving as fast as it should. Our only option is to flush the hydrants. We do flush twice a year. We have to evaluate that flushing schedule to see if it could be increased in frequency and/or the amount of time each hydrant is flushed.”

As for the next step of the process, Lasek says, “We are meeting with the state soon and they’ll ask us for an implementation plan.  When that’s done, the report will then be put on our website.”

The last time Baristanet wrote about this topic, we received many responses from Bloomfield readers who did not receive the flyer, and who don’t think posting information on the Township website is sufficient. The Bloomfield resident who tipped us off about the latest notice, writes: “I have no record of Bloomfield notifying me of this situation before today. I don’t watch “Channel 35,” which seems to be the only way Bloomfield Township officials ever want to notify residents about anything, which is just ridiculous.”

If you’re from Bloomfield, did you get this last notification? What’s your reaction?

 

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Presumably other towns get their drinking supply from the same source which either means other towns have the same issue and aren’t reporting or that other towns have found a way of dealing with the issue in which case Bloomfield Twnshp would be wise to follow whatever steps they take to eliminate the issue.

  2. I received the notice, but this continued problem with the water is disturbing. The township leadership is inept.

  3. I received both notices, and will continue to boil my water even though the township has said it not necessary. I’m not about to play the odds when it comes to cancer or my liver, kidneys, CNS, especially since I have small children. Am most frustrated by the fact that they will not disclose which locations are contaminated, especially since I lived in “an unspecified area in the north end”!! I had better see some hydrants being flushed within the next two weeks, or I will be very upset.

  4. I received the notice a day or so ago. It is disturbing. Does boiling the water help? Does it rid the water of the offending chemical? I drink alot of water that I put through a Britta. What about my pets and their little bodies?
    Buying all of my drinking water is not what I want to do. But I feel like I may have to. I agree with ali9lia….I don’t want to mes with my organs or the possibility of cancer.

  5. Since the notice first came late last year or early this year, I switched to cheap costco bottled water. I see no reason to change that decision. Filtering at home will not help, unless you use a reverse osmosis system, if I recall correctly. And they are not cheap.

  6. I’m pretty sure trihalomethane is unaffected by boiling water. Boiling water kills bacteria, not chemicals.

  7. Thanks, Pat. I saw those the other day. So it does suggest other towns are doing something to the water that Bloomfield is not since they don’t have the same issue.

  8. 2nd quarter 2011 the reading was 98.3 at Bukowski place. Not acceptable when the standard is less than 80

  9. ooh lala the reading for (there are 3 reading sites)
    2011 3rd Q
    126.8
    130.2
    122.8

    and the standard is less than 80

    2010 1st Q
    92.7 at Bukowski Place

    2010 Q2
    80.4 at Bukowski Place

    2010 Q3
    104.5
    92
    92.1

    2009 Q3
    112.1
    95.2

  10. thanks for your posts, pat. i want to point out there are 4 monitoring sites. we provide a link in our post above (see the editor’s note) to the records of Stage 2 Monitoring provided by Lasek. these show measurements from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters of 2012.

  11. PAZ is correct, humans are adapting to environmental pollution. A few years ago trihalomethanes could kill you, but now they make you stronger. A recent study in The Lancet showed that test subjects served a bowl of trihalomethanes every day for six months gained 22 pct muscle mass and rose 7 pts on IQ tests, compared to a control group given Honeynut Cheerios.

  12. Yes Dana – it’s gone to stage 2 (and NOW has 4 monitoring sites) because nothing was done in 2009, 2010, or 2011. There is most definately a pattern here.

    The township may provide these levels to the DEP but they don’t bother to provide them to the residents. From what I’m looking at it may be very beneficial to drink bottled water during Q3 every year. What to do with showering I’m not sure- maybe at the gym in Verona (whose water doesn’t have theser problems.

    So sorry that I didn’t have the time to examine 2012 yet – will do taday.

    Mr. lasek msispoke when he said “Bloomfield’s “total trihalomethane” (TTHM) problem was first identified in April 2011” since the TTHM tested quality was

    2010 1st Q
    92.7 at Bukowski Place

    2010 Q2
    80.4 at Bukowski Place

    2010 Q3
    104.5
    92
    92.1

    2009 Q3
    112.1
    95.2

    THERE’S NO DENYING THE FACTS! Q2 for 2012 – 61 Bukowski Place – 91.0, Q3 2012 61 Bukowski Place 100.0, Q2 127 Evans rd 83.6

  13. ps – stage 2 monitoring of TTHMs started in 4/2012 – and at this point the DEP required 4 testing sites. Prior to that it was 3 since we were in stage 1 of monitoring.

    It also appears that we are in stage 2 of HAA5 contamination monitoring. HAA5’s also have long-term health consequences.

    There is a DEP website that contains all of this information- it’s a little cumbersome to navigate and when I recently OPRA’d the reports submitted to the DEP, Mr. Lasek referred me here to get my own. I hadn’t known about the HAA5 problem prior to that.

    For those interested:
    https://www11.state.nj.us/DEP_WaterWatch_public/index.jsp

    “when you get to this link, insert the following information into the text boxes: PWSID – 0702001; Name – Bloomfield% (make sure you add the % at the end of the name); Type – C. You will then be directed to a page which lists our water system. Click the search button. On the next screen simply click on the PWSID# and all test results and other information is available.”

    the top of the page is where you select the results that you want to view-CHEMICAL RESULTS is where you find the TTHM and HAA5 results.

    Please note that the MP (mionitoring period) average is an average of all testing sites in the town – so the testing site in your area could be hight- an example Q3 for 2009 – 2 testing sites tested way over at 95.2 and 112.10 but one testing site tested at 5.8 and so the average was 71.

    Now as I look through 5.8 appears to be a gross anomaly since it tested in the 50’s and 70’s before and after.

Comments are closed.