Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill’s bill delivers $800k to Improve Hopatcong Water

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The check presentation was held at the newly redesigned well pump-house at the River Styx bridge. According to Mayor Michael Francis the funding means no increase to taxpayers, and the water costs can remain at their same low level. Once gain avoiding a cost to local residents.

Watch quick 4 minute video of presentation

Mikie Sherrill Head Shot“I am proud to have led the efforts in the House to cut through bureaucratic red tape and secure funding for projects that will have a direct impact on our community,” said Rep Sherrill. “These projects will strengthen our local economy, make our community safer, and improve the quality of life for North Jersey families. I want to thank all of our mayors, organizations, local governments, and community leaders in NJ-11 who these submitted projects that will make our communities an even better place to live.”

Mayor Francis Head Shot Lake Background“When we detected PFAS in our water here in Hopatcong almost two years ago, I wrote to the Congresswoman asking for federal financial assistance. The water customers could not afford the projected costs for both capital construction improvements on top of the annual O&M costs that would be incurred going forward. Congresswoman Sherrill promised me she would help our small town to the best of her ability, and she held true to her word as she always does. The Borough of Hopatcong will receive $800,000 dollars to address the PFAS contamination in our municipal wells. I want to extend my heartfelt thank you to her for her hard work that helped Hopatcong get the urgently needed funds to help supply our residents with clean drinking water,” said Hopatcong Mayor Michael Francis.

The funding will be used for the installation of above ground vessels containing either granular activated carbon or ion exchange materials at the location of water wells with elevated PFAS levels. The well water will filter through these vessels prior to discharge to the Borough potable water distribution system.

What’s Being Done on Hopatcong PFOS:

Ron TappanAs most of you have heard the Borough received a notice of violation from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection agency (DEP) for exceeding the limits of PFOS/PFOA materials in our water system and that notice went to all the Borough Water Utility customers as well.

PFOS/PFOA was originally manufactured mostly by the Dupont and 3-M Corporations. There were many others but done as large as these two. The Borough along with many other Boroughs and Counties are in a class action suit against these manufacturers in hopes to re-cope our cost of the remediation to our wells, over a 2-million-dollar project.

So, let’s talk about this PFOS stuff and what the Borough is doing to remediate this issue with the Borough water system. PFOS/PFOA have been deployed for decades, but it's only recently that the health and environmental effects correlated to their usage has been exposed. PFO's and PFOA have been used since the 50's for their water-resistant and non-stick capacity. They can be found in different products and industrial applications. Here are some examples of common goods that can be manufactured using PFOs or PFOAs.

Non-Stick Pans -Leather - Pesticides - Firefighting Foams -Polishes - Adhesives - Paint -Waxes Protective Sprays - Cleaning products - Coatings for Carpets and Upholstery – Carpets Waterproof Clothing - Cosmetics - Grease-proof Food Packaging - Heat Resistant Tape

The good news is that due to the increasing health and environmental concerns, nowadays these chemicals' deployment is being phased out. Most, if not all of us have been exposed to these products for many years.

The New Jersey DEP standard for PFOS is 0.013 parts per trillion and for PFOA 0.014. Depending on the wells, our current average of PFOS level is between 0.015 - 0.026 and for PFOA 0.015 - 0.022, not all wells are over the standard. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its action plan in 2019 with a 0.070 safety alert.

To remediate this, the Borough has decided to install carbon - based filtration systems. Below are illustrations of the filters that will be installed on all our active wells. The first to be installed is at the River Styx Well, then wells 3 and 3 A (located at crescent cove), and the well located at Mariners point.

Bid proposals went on 2/6/2022 for Wells 12, Durban Ave and Squire Field. Once the filters are installed a 12ft privacy fence will be constructed around each well. Below are illustrations of what the filter system looks like.

PFOS In1

The supply chains for these filters are extremely behind in deliveries, however the Borough of Hopatcong started the process early and is ahead of most other Boroughs and County’s on the implementation of these remediating efforts. Our first filter system is scheduled for delivery at the end of May of this year. The filtration systems are designed not just to lower the violation results but to remove all PFOS and PFOA materials in the water system. Its going to be a long and uphill battle.

Additionally, I thought you would like to see what the other States are doing in regard to the standards and testing. Below is a color chart of the State-by-State testing requirements. You can see that New Jersey has joined a few other States that have taken a very aggressive stance towards testing and remediation. Some states selected a 0.040 standard, and a majority of the States are not testing at all. Simply put there isn’t a consistent scientific approach to this issue.

PFOS In2

Last year DEP also placed a requirement on private well owners, that as of December 2021 if you are selling your home, you have to test for PFOS and PFOA. Should your private well test above the limits set by the DEP you will have to remediate as well. A process is offered by the DEP and can be applied for private well mediation reimbursement. Located on the Boroughs web site is the DEP Spill Compensation Fund Damage Claim form. This is not a Borough function. All communications are with resident/owner and the DEP.

I hope this information is helpful and should have any questions, please feel free to call.

Ron Tappan

Borough Administrator

 

Top Picture: (l-to-r) Administrator Ron Tappan, Businesswoman Q Williams, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, Mayor Francis, Press Secretary Glynnis Harvey, Councilman Hoferkamp, Environmental Chairperson Jule Girman


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