N.J. fails to address drinking water quality | Letter

originally posted on September 23, 2016


A new report by the Environmental Working Group shows widespread chromium-6 contamination in drinking water in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the nation. New Jersey’s Drinking Water Quality Institute has recommended standards for chromium in 2010 but the state Department of Environmental Protection has failed to adopt them.

Chromium-6 is a very dangerous chemical that has been linked to cancer and other serious health impacts. The movie Erin Brockovich was about its effects on the people of Hinkley, Calif. This is particularly troubling for New Jersey since we have found chromium in 150 different water systems here.

Once again the Christie administration has failed to act on protecting us from toxins in our drinking water. The report notes how DEP Commissioner Bob Martin may have blocked submission of the DWQI’s standard recommendations because of spite. He also prevented the Institute from meeting for five years. This is along with stacking the Institute with people tied to the chemical industry. The Christie administration wanted to show that they’re anti-regulation and anti-environment by not moving forward with any new drinking water standards.

They are still blocking the standards on 15 different chemicals including PFC, arsenic, Teflon, TCE, PCE, lead and PFOAs that the DWQI has recommended six years ago. They are making decisions based on political science, not health-based science. The Legislature needs to investigate what’s happening. By blocking the standards for chromium and other chemicals, the administration is putting the health of the people of New Jersey at risk.

Jeff Tittel
Director, New Jersey Sierra Club

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