Mayor: Bloomfield switching water supply amid lead concerns

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The mayor of Bloomfield says that the township is in the process of changing its drinking water supply amid concerns of lead contamination.

The Bloomfield Water Department did find elevated lead levels in the drinking water of some homes and businesses. But they told residents at a town forum Monday that the water supply is mostly safe.

“There's a certain level where it becomes non-detectible, so when you get to that level, that's pretty much a nonexistent level of lead,” said a town official.

Independent testing of the township's water supply passed EPA guidelines for lead. But Bloomfield’s mayor says that's not the only factor they have to contend with.

"When households do have high lead levels, we go out and we fix the connection between the main and the household. That is what's causing the lead in the water in many households,” says Mayor Michael Venezia.

CONTINUING COVERAGE: Newark drinking water crisis

Bloomfield currently gets its water from the Pequannock Water Treatment Plant, the same reservoir providing water to parts of Newark – a city that is currently dealing with its own lead-contamination issue.

“We are coming up with a new pumping station that we're going to be able to get water from the Wanaque reservoir,” Venezia says.

Bloomfield health officials say that the Wanaque reservoir has better corrosion control than the Pequannock. It is old pipes combined with poor corrosion control that can lead to high levels of lead, according to officials.

Venezia says that the switch should take about 18 months.

“That will cover 60% of the town and then we are coming up with a three-year plan to cover 100% of the town,” he says.

Venezia is asking town residents to do their own lead testing so that the town can figure out how many households are impacted by the contamination.

Concerned residents can pick up a water filter at the Bloomfield Civic Center.

Anyone who wishes to have their water tested can contact the Bloomfield Health Department at 973-680-4024.

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