Home > Uncategorized > Christie DEP Casually Notes That DEP Has Known About The Lead In Drinking Water Problem “For a Generation Or So”

Christie DEP Casually Notes That DEP Has Known About The Lead In Drinking Water Problem “For a Generation Or So”

Accountability at Christie DEP flows like water off a duck’s back

No consequences for failure – no reforms after disasters


“If we had any inkling that we had high lead levels in our water,” [Superintendent] Gundersen said, “we would have initiated this testing a long time ago.”   ~~~ “Scope of lead risk a serious lesson for North Jersey school districts” [Bergen Record, 5/30/16]

Was I the only one to hear Christie DEP Assistant Commissioner Dan Kennedy casually note in passing during Legislative testimony that DEP had known about lead in drinking water problems for “a generation or so”?

It sure seems that way, because Kennedy’s bombshell passed without notice by members of the Senate Environment Committee, the intrepid NJ press corps, and a packed room of environmental lobbyists.

DEP Assistant Commissioner Kennedy was testifying to the Committee on Monday about a package of bills to finance water infrastructure.

Kennedy casually dropped that hand grenade in response to a question about lead from Chairman Smith, who asked Kennedy if NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust (EIT) funds could be used for lead abatement projects.

In the course of his response, Kennedy casually noted that DEP had known about the lead problem for “a generation or so” and – without missing a beat – droned on in his longwinded and evasive response to Smith’s question.

I was stunned, and thought the revelation would prompt shock and outrage by Committee members and denunciations by the press corps.

Silly me – and I wrote about that months ago – I even boldfaced it for emphasis

DEP scientists and regulators have known for many years that there are loopholes in testing and treatment requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act and that as a result thousands of children were being exposed to unsafe levels of lead and many other chemicals.

They did NOTHING with that knowledge. REPEAT: NOTHING to warn the public or close gaping regulatory loopholes. …

Where is the media on all this?

It is a far bigger scandal than Bridgegate.

When that post was ignored, I doubled down two weeks later with another post, assuming that if State policymakers and the media didn’t give a damn about black kids in NJ cities, maybe they might care about white people in suburban homes.

Again I shouted in boldface – and again got no response:

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)

I even Tweeted Kennedy’s remark.

Crickets all around.

Despite the fact the DEP is the lead agency for protecting and regulating public water supply and implementing the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and NJ State Safe Drinking Water laws, they have been invisible in this whole issue.

The regulatory system is completely broken and so is the legislative oversight mechanism and media accountability.

Over and out.

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