Home > Uncategorized > NJ DEP Has Know For YEARS that Up to 18% of NJ Homes Have High Lead Levels

NJ DEP Has Know For YEARS that Up to 18% of NJ Homes Have High Lead Levels

With all the focus on lead growing out of the Flint Michigan and Newark Schools tragedies – including criminal charges filed against State regulators –  I thought the DEP data hidden in plain sight would be mined by intrepid reporters and NJ’s “environmental justice” advocates.

I was terribly wrong on both counts.

So here is the lead data, from DEP’s Private Well Testing Act Report (2008):

Lead samples in homes – A total of 5,523 (11%) of the homes had lead levels above the previous Ground Water Quality Standard of 10 μg/l. This number increased to 9,368 (18%) of homes that had lead levels above the new Ground Water Quality Standard of 5 μg/l. This indicates that many homes still have lead in their plumbing systems, since it is unlikely that it originated from the raw ground water supply.  (page 18)

DEP changed the data format of the most recent Private Well Testing Act report to frustrate understanding of statewide statistics like the above.

Take a look and see if you find this new format helpful or whether it obscures the data.

Welcome to transparent and accountable government in the age of Christie!

Neither US EPA nor NJ DEP have an enforceable drinking water standard – known as an “MCL” (“Maximum Contaminant Level”) – for lead.

EPA has a 15 ppb “action level” – this is NOT an MCL.

NJ DEP uses the lower 5 ppb groundwater quality standards for the PWTA data –

It is not reported how many of the homes that exceed NJ DEP’s 5 ppb GWQS also exceed EPA’s 15 ppb “action level” and it is not clear whether any such exceedence triggers mandatory followup sampling and corrective action.

Is this public health decision left up to the home buyer and seller?

Good questions to pose to NJ DEP.

[End note: on the EJ front, why should the family able to afford a home in rural Hunterdon County served by a well get more effective drinking water protection than a family that purchases a modest home in Irvington or Newark or Camden?

Why should renters of homes served by wells get less protection than homeowners?

Ask the environmental group who championed the PWTA.

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