New Jersey coalition calls for investigation of private wells
A coalition of environmental and labor groups are calling for the testing of private drinking water wells in four towns near DuPont's Chambers Works facility in Deepwater, NJ. They are concerned about the possible presence of the dangerous Teflon chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). The action follows DuPont's disclosure to the New Jersey DEP that its groundwater monitoring wells showed contamination levels which exceeded the state's "alert level"...
• Aims to protect families from PFOA in drinking water
DEEPWATER, NJ, June 9, 2008 -- A coalition of environmental and labor groups are calling for the testing of private drinking water wells in four towns near DuPont's Chambers Works facility in Deepwater, N.J. They are concerned about the possible presence of the dangerous Teflon chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).
The coalition's call for testing of private wells by DuPont follows the company's disclosure to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) that its groundwater monitoring wells showed contamination levels which exceeded the State of New Jersey's "alert level."
"Those whose drinking water comes from private wells have the right to know if they are drinking PFOA contaminated water," said Jane Nogaki, Vice Chair of NJ Environmental Federation. "Of particular concern are wells serving families with pregnant women and small children," she said noting a study of PFOA contamination of newborns released by Johns Hopkins Medical School in 2007.
"DuPont's sampling results, along with the NJDEP's information of private well contamination raises the possibility that up to 750 private residential drinking water wells in Salem County may suffer from PFOA contamination," said Shawn Gilchrist of the United Steelworkers Union.
Groundwater is the only source of drinking water for the nearby residents of Pennsville, Penns Grove, Carneys Point, and Oldmans Township and the results of DuPont's testing raises the possibility that common aquifers have been contaminated with PFOA and other PFCs.
DuPont's testing of nine on-site and off-site monitoring wells surrounding its Chambers Works plant showed PFOA results ranging from .012 parts per billion to 2.2 parts per billion. The nine monitoring wells were required by the NJDEP and were located at the plant's boundaries.
A year ago February, the NJDEP set the nation's safest drinking water guidance level for PFOA. New Jersey identified the safe "alert level" of only .04 parts per billion after finding PFOA contamination in drinking water supplies across the state. While all wells showed some PFOA content, eight of the nine monitoring wells exceeded New Jersey's "alert level."
The sampling results also suggest that DuPont's "interceptor wells," which are supposed to have contained the company's pollution, may not stop the spread of these contaminants into the surrounding communities.
At the present time, there are nearly two thousand Salem County residents who depend on private wells for their drinking water. Without further testing, we fear that many of these wells may draw water from a now contaminated aquifer.
"Clearly now that DuPont and the state know about the contamination, quick action to gather the private well data and address the danger is in everyone's interest," said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director of Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
"We demand these wells should be investigated for contamination with state oversight. To do less would be unconscionable," added Carluccio.