Bloomfield notified by Newark of cloudy water, problem fixed

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Bloomfield was notified by the city of Newark that on Sept. 20, 25 and 26 there were periods of high turbidity water — cloudy water — and the issue was corrected by the city on Sept. 26, according to a Nov. 11 press release from Bloomfield. According to Bloomfield spokesperson Grant Ludmer, the township was notified of the issue on Oct. 28.

“We are notifying our residents of this irregularity in order to be as transparent and open as possible about our water; however, there is nothing to be concerned about,” Mayor Michael Venezia said. “As a result of investments we have made in our infrastructure over the last several years, our water is safe and fully in compliance with all EPA regulations.”

Bloomfield purchases its water from the city of Newark already treated and does not perform any treatment to the incoming water. This notice of noncompliance was caused by the treatment process performed by Newark at their Pequannock treatment plan. Therefore, Bloomfield had no control over these events of noncompliance, according to the press release.

Kareem Adeem, director of the Newark Water & Sewer Department, did not respond to requests for comment from The Independent Press regarding why Newark waited a month to inform Bloomfield of the noncompliance.

According to a notice prepared by the city of Newark — which will be mailed to Bloomfield residents — though turbidity has no health effects, it can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth.

“At this time, this is not an emergency. However, as a result of the high turbidity levels on 9/25/20 and 9/26/20, Newark Water Department did not meet the treatment requirements, and there was an increased chance that the water may have contained disease-causing organisms. Tests taken during the same period did not indicate the presence of bacteria in the water,” the notice read.

“The intermittent elevated level of turbidity units and ‘not enough disinfection time’ during the two-day period were due to an equipment failure of a valve overfeeding our coagulant chemical into the treatment plant,” the notice continued. “While the coagulant chemical is used to reduce turbidity, the overdosing led to an interruption in the treatment process, which instead caused increased turbidity levels and a disruption in the disinfections treatment process.”

According to the Newark Water Department, its employees identified the valve failure and repaired it on the afternoon of Sept. 26. They also added chemicals that reduce turbidity; sampled treated water for the presence of coliform bacteria and none was detected; monitored chlorine levels and adjusted them as needed to provide additional disinfection; and inspected and cleaned filters.