Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Reservoir Passes Tests for Dioxane

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Reservoir Passes Tests for Dioxane

Article excerpt

Water samples taken from the Wanaque Reservoir last month showed no trace of a dangerous chemical found a mile upstream in Ringwood at the Ford Superfund site, officials confirmed.

The tests were among several conducted in recent weeks after the public was made aware that high levels of 1,4-dioxane -- a likely carcinogen -- were detected throughout the 500-acre Superfund site and near a pond a few hundred feet off-site.

The Environmental Protection Agency is awaiting the results of more tests done at nearby brooks "to further confirm that site- related contaminants do not threaten water quality in the Wanaque Reservoir," said Mary Mears, an agency spokeswoman.

Groundwater at the Superfund site has long been polluted with benzene, arsenic, lead and other toxic materials from tons of paint sludge dumped 50 years ago by contractors hauling industrial waste from an assembly plant Ford Motor Co. operated in Mahwah. That has led to concerns that the pollution is leaching downstream into the Wanaque Reservoir, which supplies as many as 3 million residents with water.

Water samples taken from the reservoir in 2013 showed no sign of 1,4-dioxane during a nationally mandated test for all water systems. But the reservoir's operators wanted to test again after The Record revealed in February that groundwater deep under the Superfund site contained 50 to 95 times the state standard for 1,4-dioxane. The EPA knew of the contamination for months but did not make it public because officials did not consider it an imminent health threat.

The chemical, 1,4-dioxane, a solvent used in many products, has been known for years to cause liver and kidney damage. Several health organizations think prolonged exposure to it causes cancer. But the EPA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection have yet to develop drinking water standards for the chemical. …

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