West Milford finds fix for school’s radioactive water
West Milford finds fix for school’s radioactive water.
WEST MILFORD – A custom water filtration system is coming to Upper Greenwood Lake Elementary School, where elevated levels of radioactive particles have contaminated the water supply.
Quarterly test results reported to the state since last summer show uranium and radium levels in the school’s well water have been below the federal maximum permitted for drinking water.
The school, which is on the town’s northwest plateau on Henry Road, has been reliant on bottled water since early October 2016 and will be for the foreseeable future, officials said.
High levels of naturally occurring uranium in drinking water are more likely in the Highlands than other parts of the state due to the region’s geology, according to DEP records.
Radium and radon, other naturally occurring radionuclides formed from decaying uranium, can also be found in the area, records show.
The contractor, Equity Environmental Engineering, is also working on a project to abate radiation contamination in neighboring Vernon, said district Business Administrator Barbara Francisco.
“They’re very much aware of the problems because they are involved in a similar situation in Vernon,” she said.
New Jersey was the first state to start using the radium-224 testing method for radioactive particles in drinking water 20 years ago.
Radioactivity in drinking water is not a modern occurrence, but testing standards were not created by the EPA until 1977.