Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Butler Water Department Missing Records

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Butler Water Department Missing Records

Article excerpt

BUTLER -- The municipal water department failed to keep adequate records on cloudiness and chlorine-treatment levels in water supplied over the past three years, according to state reviews.

Notices to that effect have been sent to customers. The state Department of Environmental Protection and water department have no evidence that public health was affected, the notices say, but the violations were considered serious because they had the potential to "adversely affect public health."

No fines have been issued by the DEP, and borough officials say changes in record keeping are being made.

The borough's website says the water department supplies about 2,500 customers -- or 8,000 people -- in Butler, High Crest Lake in West Milford and Kinnelon. The 950-million-gallon Kakeout Reservoir is the source for the system.

The customer notices, ordered by the DEP, said that agency's staff visited the Butler water department in April and May and found it had failed to comply with certain federal and state regulations regarding record keeping from April 2010 to this month.

Some of the records in question pertain to the level of water turbidity, or cloudiness. Exceeding allowable levels, the notice says, can "increase the chance that the water might have contained disease-causing organisms," and no records showing Butler didn't exceed those levels have been kept.

The chlorine records, which would show that adequate amounts of the chemical were added to treat water for microbiological contaminants, also are reported missing, as are those that recorded the levels of residual chlorine in the water system.

The notice says the department failed to follow procedures for analyzing water samples for those two components, as well as for pH and temperature, and did not obtain a required DEP permit before adding a chemical feed system to its equipment that helps control pipe corrosion.

Treatment systems such as Butler's also are required to have a full-time licensed operator at the controls for at least 35 hours a week. The borough has not had that staffing since January 2013.

As a result, the DEP is requiring that the department fully evaluate the treatment plant and demonstrate that the borough has adequate technical, managerial and financial resources to run the system. …

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