Distribution project of $7.3M to provide NJ residents, businesses safe drinking water

An extension of a drinking water distribution system is being constructed by the EPA in Chester and Washington Townships in New Jersey.

NEW YORK, NY, June 24, 2013 -- A $7.3 million extension of a drinking water distribution system is being constructed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Chester and Washington Townships in New Jersey. The project is expected to provide a safe source of drinking water to 73 homes and businesses potentially impacted by contaminated groundwater from the Combe Fill South Landfill Superfund site.

The 65-acre Combe Fill South Landfill in Morris County served as a municipal landfill from the 1940s until 1981. Soil and groundwater beneath the site were contaminated by volatile organic compounds from the landfill. Further, these compounds can have serious impacts on people's health.

"Clean drinking water is a top priority for the EPA," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "People should not have to worry about whether their water is safe to drink. The new water line will connect homes and businesses threatened by the groundwater contamination to a municipal water supply that will provide a safe source of drinking water."

In 1978, Combe Fill Corporation bought the landfill and operated the site in violation of New Jersey's solid waste law. Combe Fill Corporation went bankrupt in 1981 and the landfill was not properly closed. Approximately 170 people live within half a mile of the landfill and most of the residents use private wells as their source of drinking water. The EPA added the site to the Superfund list of the most contaminated hazardous waste sites in 1983.

The original cleanup plan for the site included capping the landfill, installing a landfill gas collection system, pumping and treating the shallow groundwater beneath the site and installing stormwater runoff controls. All of these cleanup measures were successfully completed and are operating effectively. A study of the site's impact on the deep groundwater is ongoing.

Starting in the early 1990s, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection began providing in-home water treatment systems to residents whose wells were affected by groundwater contamination coming from the landfill. The EPA has pursued the new water line extension in order to provide a permanent water supply to the neighborhood around the landfill. The expected cost of the water line extension is $7.3 million dollars. Once constructed, the water line extension, which will connect homes and businesses along Parker Road, School House Lane and a small portion of Route 24, will be operated and maintained by the Washington Township Municipal Utilities Authority.

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