Town informs residents about recent water/lead tests

Photo by Daniel Jackovino
Town officials mingle with residents following the Monday night talk on safey regarding lead.

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — A special Bloomfield council meeting was held Monday evening at the Bloomfield Middle School to discuss the most recent lead testing results of residential water. The meeting was not well-attended, with about 10 people who were not township employees in the audience. But the meeting was recorded by Bloomfield TV for later transmission.

“Unfortunately, about 15 percent of the homeowners failed the lead testing,” Mayor Michael Venezia said to open the meeting.
Notices to all homeowners would be going out this week, he said.

Township Administrator Matthew Watkins said the purpose of the meeting was to understand the situation.
“What we hope is to educate people a little more and educate the town about it,” he said.

He said 61 homes were recently tested for lead. Fifteen of the 61 exceeded a safe level of 15 parts of lead per billion parts of water. Watkins said no amount of lead is good, but 15 parts per billion was like 15 drops from an eyedropper going into a swimming pool.
Thirteen of the 15 homes were re-tested and only one had over 15 parts per billion.

“In the next week or so, all residents will get a very technical letter,” he said. “It’s all legalese at
its finest.”

Water is taken into Bloomfield at three locations, he said: Bloomfield Avenue and Grove Street; Bloomfield Avenue and Glenwood Avenue; and Garrabrant Avenue.

“There’s no lead in the water coming in,” he said.
The lead, he said, is in the solder used to connect pipes and fixtures within the home. He recommended running the water for 30 seconds. This was amended by Township Engineer Paul Lasek when a female resident, whose home had failed the test, asked Watkins about the time faucet water must run before using it. Lasek told her to feel the water temperature when first turning the faucet on. Then wait until the water turned colder. He said that would take about 3 minutes and then the water in the pipe connected to the faucet would be flushed. The colder water would be coming from the water main under the street.

Watkins said the township had trouble finding the residents who would volunteer for the testing and that lead testing kits were available, free to residents. The female resident spoke up again and said taking the test was easy.

There was also a short video on purchasing a water filter. The video and Watkins advised to use only filters labeled NSF 53.
This means it eliminates lead to a safe level. Watkins said a second number, NSF 42, means it eliminates bacteria to safe level. He also said that, if there is any concern, parents could have their children tested for lead-blood levels.

Following the meeting, Karen Lore, the director of the Bloomfield Department of Health, said lead will be eliminated from the body, but if it builds up, could cause serious problems. She reiterated that parents should have their children tested if there is any concern.