Statement on Environmental Working Group TAP Water Database Release

Print

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released a report raising concerns about the presence of a number of contaminants in our water supply. The report can be found at https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/.

Ridgewood Water shares the EWG’s concern for water quality and public health protection, and prides itself on the quality of its drinking water, which meets or exceeds all current water quality standards of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Safe Drinking Water Act, which was established to protect the quality of drinking water, requires a rigorous scientific approach for evaluating contaminants for regulation. It is important to remember that detecting a substance in water does not always imply a health risk. The key question that researchers seek to answer is whether the substance presents health concerns at the level it is detected. That is why the federal and state regulatory process requires EPA and NJDEP to examine potential health impacts of the substance, paths of exposure and occurrence data. A thorough evaluation of all this data increases the likelihood that new regulations will offer meaningful risk reduction.

To that end, approximately 40,000 routine lab analyses are performed on our water supply each year. Those sampling results can always be found on the NJDEP Drinking Water Watch at https://www9.state.nj.us/DEP_WaterWatch_public/. Additionally, on a periodic basis, EPA requires utilities, based on the size of the water system, to test for various substances as part of the unregulated contaminant sampling program, which provides data to EPA and NJDEP for scientific evaluation. Larger systems are required to test for more contaminants than smaller systems. That data then helps the EPA and NJDEP to consider future rulemaking based on the presence and levels of specific contaminants.

Two of the contaminants listed in the EWG report (PFOA and Hexavalent Chromium) were tested for as part of the unregulated contaminant sampling program, for which no water quality standards exist at this time. In the case of PFOA (a specific compound within the family of compounds known as PFAS), customers should be aware that the NJDEP has determined that the appropriate standard should be 14 parts per trillion (ppt). That standard has been proposed in NJ, but has not yet been implemented as a maximum contaminant level (MCL). In contrast, the EWG report places a “Health Guideline” for PFOA at 1 ppt, which is essentially a non-detectable level.

Ridgewood Water considers itself a proactive utility, and its customers are aware of the significant time, energy and money that has already been devoted to educating the public about the presence of PFAS compounds in our water supply, as well as on the implementation of treatment that removes these substances to non-detect levels. As an example, a capital investment north of three million dollars recently resulted in Ridgewood Water bringing back online a wellfield that produces over one million gallons of PFAS-free drinking water each day.

Ridgewood Water remains committed to providing high quality drinking water to its customers. If you have questions about the quality of your water, please contact Customer Service at (201) 670-5520 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Thank you.

OPRA Logo