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Volatile Compound Found in Well Water Near Pompton Lake

Local residents were notified of the existence of a compound found in printing inks via a letter late last month.

Some residents living in the Pines Lake section of town were notified that drinking water in a well near some of their properties contains elevated levels of Trichloroethene, or TCE.

The Passaic County Department of Health (DOH) notified residents last month that high levels of TCE were found in a private well. The letter was mailed to homeowners within 1,000 feet of the property.

TCE is a volatile organic compound found in printing inks, adhesives, and rug cleaners.

The DOH is recommending that well owners in the affected area have their wells tested for VOCs.

Keith Furlong, public information officer with the county, said the high level of TCE were discovered due to a homeowner testing his well because he is selling his property.

If in the process of selling their homes something like this is discovered the homeowner is required to let the county health department know.

“If it turns out to be more than just one home we’ll become more active and the Department of Environmental Protection will get involved,” Furlong said. “The Health Department recommends that wells get tested ever year. We’re taking calls and answering questions about it.”

Residents who do not use a well “are not impacted” by the elevated TCE level, the letter states.

“Residents that do not have a private well and obtain their drinking water from a municipal water utility are not impacted,” the letter states.

Homeowners are responsible for paying to have their wells tested, not the DOH.

Pompton Lakes residents said at a council meeting this week that they believe the contamination is coming from Pompton Lake. The eastern part of the lake borders the Pines Lake neighborhood. DuPont is being held responsible for allowing mercury, lead, and copper to seep into the lake for years. The company used to have an explosives factory on the site.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered DuPont to remove 100,000 cubic yards of sediment form the lake. DuPont has appealed the plan.

Adolph Everette, chief of the hazardous waste programs branch for the EPA’s region two section.

“There’s no evidence there is contamination on that side of the lake,” Everette said. “We know there’s contamination on the western shore but as far as anything on the eastern shore, there’s no there’s no reason to think that there is contamination from that site impacting that side of the lake.”

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

John Smith March 23, 2013 at 12:45 PM
TCE is also found in brake cleaners. It is impossible that the contamination from the Dupont Plant to have reached the Pines Lake. The groundwater cannot possibly move upgradient (i.e., against the flow of groundwater) for that far of a distance.
stewart resmer March 23, 2013 at 02:25 PM
so...'john smith'? Are you in a position to categorically refute and deny the presence of the compound using spurios science and disinformation? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-xEKu6xM6Q
Richard Czarnecki March 23, 2013 at 02:41 PM
This substance is Not used in printing inks - it is commonly used as a dry cleaning solvent. I am a 25 tear veteran of the ink industry. Richczarnecki@hotmail.com
Al Scala March 23, 2013 at 03:17 PM
When underground storage tanks ( oil), are removed, this substance is found at times in the groundwater. We find when groundwater samples are taken and the laboratory results come back showing traces of this compound. If I'm not mistaken, I believe this compound may have been used in the dry cleaning process years ago.
stewart resmer March 23, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Richard let me express to you how refreshing it is to have some one stand behind their comment here by using their name and even providing an email contact address. This heightens the exchange of views and gives credibility to diverse points of view. Excellent. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3036697/ns/msnbc-hardball_with_chris_matthews/vp/51042835/#51042835
stewart resmer March 23, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Industrial solvent TCE even more dangerous to people EPA finds trichloroethylene causes kidney and liver cancer, lymphoma and other health problems. The decision could raise the cost of cleanups nationwide, including in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys. September 30, 2011|By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times One of the most widespread groundwater contaminants in the nation is more dangerous to humans than earlier thought, a federal agency has determined, in a decision that could raise the cost of cleanups nationwide, including large areas of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys. The final risk assessment for trichloroethylene by the Environmental Protection Agency found that the widely used industrial solvent causes kidney and liver cancer, lymphoma and other health problems. That lays the groundwork to reevaluate the federal drinking-water standard for the contaminant: 5 parts per billion in water, and 1 microgram per cubic meter in air, officials said.
John Smith March 23, 2013 at 05:05 PM
TCE does cause adverse health effects, but it must be consumed on continuous basis for a lifetime. The risk posed is strictly based on the dosage. Too much sugar will also kill you. Too much salt will stop your heart. There is a risk in anything we do consume or come into contact with. The dosage is the key. Please remember that you inhale benzene everytime you fill up your lawn mower or other power tool with gas and when you fill up your car with gas. We also treat the poles with PCP and we treat the home insects and the lawn with pesticides and herbicides. We also "treat" the decks with arsenic and copper to kill the fungus.
Lisa Riggiola March 23, 2013 at 05:44 PM
EPA Stakeholders Vapor Intrusion Forum 3/18/12, Citizens For A Clean Pompton Lakes - https://iavi.rti.org/attachments/WorkshopsAndConferences/02_Riggola_3-15-13.pdf
Lisa Riggiola March 23, 2013 at 05:46 PM
WHEN WILL THOSE THAT CAN HELP US WAKE UP???? WHEN WILL OUR LIVES MATTER???? INJUSTICE! IT HAS GOT TO STOP! http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-dupont-chemical-from-poisoning-new-jersey-families. 11,773 have signed and support us but PLEASE we must get this petition to a VIRAL stage and we need your help. Please continue to share on your wall and go into the petition on change.org and invite your Facebook friends, email and tweet! Thank you so much for caring!! SAVE OUR FUTURE - SAVE OUR CHILDREN!
Edward Meakem March 23, 2013 at 06:28 PM
“There’s no evidence there is contamination on that side of the lake,” Everette said. “We know there’s contamination on the western shore but as far as anything on the eastern shore, there’s no there’s no reason to think that there is contamination from that site impacting that side of the lake.” Is Mr.Everett speaking only about TCE and PCE as the Dupont Lake clean up maps show lead and mercury levels are high on the Wayne side.....
Lisa Riggiola March 23, 2013 at 07:25 PM
Good point Ed Meakem - "hot spots" clearly shown in maps on Wayne side of the Lake. Pointed out in presentations here in Pompton Lakes held by state and federal environmental agencies. Why is Mr. Everett stating otherwise to the press is one question that should be answered? Wow, why the flip-flop?
stewart resmer March 23, 2013 at 07:49 PM
they call it plausable deniability...unfortunately its coming from the state in his example.
stewart resmer March 23, 2013 at 08:00 PM
can you do this with your tap water? http://vimeo.com/11842717 maybe not, but the question remains? what IS in your tap water when we read about examples such as this story?
Mary ledwith March 24, 2013 at 04:52 AM
John Smith, just curious... do you live in Pompton Lakes or on the Wayne side of the lake?
Mary ledwith March 24, 2013 at 04:57 AM
John Smith just curious if you have experienced this local contamination first hand?
Mary ledwith March 24, 2013 at 05:00 AM
How do I become a member of this group so I can comment and add to this site?
Daniel Hubbard (Editor) March 24, 2013 at 06:02 AM
Mary, You are a member and your comments are live on the site. Daniel Hubbard, editor
bill wolfe March 24, 2013 at 01:11 PM
To John SMith - please tell people all the science of toxicology, not just that supports your views. YOu forgot to mention that there is no "threshold" below which exposure to a carcinogen is "safe", so please stop minimizing the problem.
bill wolfe March 24, 2013 at 01:21 PM
The only good news I can see here is that neighbors within 1000 feet got notices warning them so they could take action to prevent exposure and protect themselves. That's a lot more wearing that the people of Pompton Lakes got for 25 years from Dupont, DEP, and EPA. The problem is that the specific address is confidential, so I can't do a google maps search and look for possible sources of the chemical in groundwater. Does anyone have the address? Does anyone know for sure whether Pompton Lake and Pine lake are hydrologically connected, via surface or groundwater? ASk EPA and DEP that question.
bill wolfe March 24, 2013 at 01:50 PM
John Smith - is it possible that there are fractures in geological formations that would provide such a pathway for transport? Is it possible that subsurface infrastructure would provide such a pathway? Are there any surgical links? Never say impossible.
bill wolfe March 24, 2013 at 01:51 PM
Quoting Rumsfeld: "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"
stewart resmer March 24, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Bill, last year we were told at the symposium on flooding @ WPU by the geologists and other experts that due to the bed rcok peculiar to the Passaic Valley, that the water simply does not drain. Thats why a tunnel was proposed, to drain off the water.
stewart resmer March 24, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Toenail clippings to measure toxic exposure in N.J. http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2013/03/toenail_clippings_to_measure_toxic_exposure_in_nj.html#incart_river_default GARFIELD — The neighborhood looks exceedingly normal: single-family homes and apartment buildings packed together, dogs barking from postage-stamp-size lawns, parents hustling down narrow sidewalks to fetch their children from school. But something with very dangerous potential lies below the surface, officials say.
stewart resmer March 25, 2013 at 01:31 PM
DEP's waiver from reality: Editorial 'New Jersey is the last place anyone should want to see a relaxation of rules that protect clean air and groundwater. We are the national leader in Superfund sites. For decades, corporations have fought tooth and nail against paying for clean-ups after they fouled land, air, rivers and streams. Many are still fighting — just take a look at the Passaic River, a dumping site for generations of businesses that are still attempting to evade responsibility. We are living with the spoilage. And any law that could add to this mess is a problem'. 'Environmentalists say they’ll take the matter to the state Supreme Court. It’s a fight worth taking to another round'. NJ.com
njgirl...what's it to you April 13, 2013 at 05:33 PM
To John Smith, boy do we need more "let's all just bend over" pragmatic thinkers like yourself...i think, uh, no.

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