Can I drink tap water in New Jersey? It’s a tough question to answer – while it is officially considered safe, there are many arguments against it.
The main point of the debate revolves around the fact that water leaves the treatment plant in one condition and arrives in another. An overwhelming percentage of the US water pipe network was created a long time ago. Since then, the pipes have not been properly looked after, which affects the New Jersey drinking water quality. For example, lead has become a major problem since it often ends up in tap water.
Let’s see how to stay safe and what can be done to improve the New Jersey water quality.
Where Does New Jersey Tap Water Come From?
The New Jersey water supply comes from multiple sources serving different communities. According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), surface waters account for the majority of the supply with the remaining percentage attributed to groundwater. They also note that New Jersey drinking water quality is consistent throughout all sources.
Before New Jersey tap water arrives at people’s homes, it goes through various stages across the public water system. First, it is pumped into a treatment plant with the goal of improving New Jersey water quality. Namely, the initial treatment removes waterborne bacteria contained in natural water bodies. And then, the pipe network distributes the water across all communities directly into households.
Over 600 water systems serve the state residents. Most of them deliver water supplies for relatively small communities – fewer than 10,000 residents. The most common model of water system management is public-private partnerships. This means that the utilities are publicly owned but private contractors are then responsible for operations, maintenance, and even changing the New Jersey drinking water quality. Alternatively, residents who chose to install a private well represent a peculiar form of water sourcing. In this case, the official must overlook the New Jersey water quality, the residents take charge of it for their specific household.
Who Regulates New Jersey Tap Water?
New Jersey drinking water quality is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, the agency does not only focus on the water supplies but also on protecting the human health and the environment in general. Their mission is to reduce the human health and environmental risks from New Jersey tap water based on scientific data. This is done through federal laws that encourage stewardship of the supplies and making it safe to consume.
Residents often find themselves wondering: “Can I drink tap water in New Jersey?” This is one of the tasks the EPA strives to fully answer. They allocate funds to state environmental programs and non-profits that study the effects of water pollution and methods to prevent it.
Also, the Office of Local Public Health (OLPH) within the New Jersey Department of Health oversees and guides essential public health services. One of the programs called Child Lead Program (CLP) aims to prevent childhood exposure to lead.
If you are concerned about your and your family’s health, you should consider how you can minimize or fully prevent effects from poor water quality. For more information about water safety visit the High Water Standard blog. You will learn the importance of water filtration and how to choose the best system for your individual needs.
What’s Wrong with New Jersey Water Quality?
The news stories about lead contamination in New Jersey and the surrounding area raise the questions: Is Newark, NJ tap water safe to drink and can I drink tap water in New Jersey without filtering it?
First, let’s take a closer look at concerns about lead in NJ water. Lead in drinking water is considered a major source of exposure causing risks of neurological damage. In 2019, there was a big incident regarding Newark water contamination , which was reminiscent of the water crisis in Flint in 2016.
Newark officials have long denied the city had a problem with lead found in its drinking water supply. The results of a testing plan showed that one in 10 households had lead levels surpassing the regulated limit. The tests from local schools have also not been satisfactory. The city official had to shut water fountains down in more than 30 schools, offering bottled water instead.
The official statement from the Jersey Water Works Steering Committee confirmed that many of New Jersey’s older schools, homes and businesses have a serious plumbing problem. As a result, problematic water infrastructure contributed to high levels of lead in water in Newark. The committee assembled a collaborative task force whose intent is to improve New Jersey drinking water quality. The framework of this initiative focuses on clearly-defined responsibilities and commitments on behalf of the state officials, as well as the public.
To explain why this is happening and put it in a broader context, that considers other water infrastructure needs, the Jersey Water Works Steering Committee has issued a statement. Jersey Water Works has also convened a collaborative task force to develop a practical, broadly-supported action agenda to eliminate lead in drinking water throughout New Jersey.
Another way of combating the issue involved developing a library of resources to provide residents with information on New Jersey drinking water quality. The library also educates people on the effects of lead exposure and the best practices to avoid it.
Historically, New Jersey has occupied a leading position in terms of public health research and revealing potential threats. Also, city officials always strive to implement new testing and treatment protocols that challenge established safety limits. But in light of recent events, can you drink tap water in New Jersey? Unfortunately, the state infrastructure is still guilty of multiple violations that put public safety at risk. Even though NJ has previously been a development leader, the unregulated chemicals in tap water remain overlooked.
The causes of health violations usually fall into one of the following categories: excessive levels of bacteria or lead. Both of these problems can be solved by a high-quality water filtration system from High Water Standard. Our solutions can effectively get rid of water contaminants such as lead and disinfect byproducts after water treatment. Order a filtration system today to stop worrying about your health in the future.
Health Problems Caused by Lead
The symptoms from lead exposure occur very slowly. Therefore, health problems related to lead exposure are hard to diagnose and many cases have been overlooked or misdiagnosed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person with prolonged exposure to lead may experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Mental problems
- Loss of focus
In this case, is Newark, NJ tap water safe to drink if it potentially causes these health issues? Moreover, other effects can include high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, and reduced fertility. Also, the report from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) stated that lead is likely to be a cancer-causing agent.
If children or pregnant women consume tap water, it is even more important to be conscious of New Jersey drinking water quality. It can be damaging to children’s and developing babies’ nervous systems. Neurological effects can arise even at very low levels of toxicity.
How to Remove Lead From Water?
New Jersey public administration is slowly working towards replacing the old lead-based water lines to prevent various health issues. Also, they urge residents to replace pipes and utilities inside their homes as well.
An initiative to eliminate childhood lead poisoning includes a 10 year strategy described in the 2018 New Jersey Lead Poisoning Prevention Action Plan. The plan made suggestions on how to remove lead from water using the following practices:
- Rental accommodation must be certified to have lead-free piping with regular check-ups
- The resources must be allocated to assist local health departments in analyzing lead exposure risk
- The service companies must have strategies aimed at removing lead service lines
- Encourage repairs in public housing and city infrastructure
As you can see, it is a time-consuming and costly process. It means that for the next ten years, there are no guarantees that citizens will be provided will lead-free water in their homes. Also, it doesn’t fully solve the problem – pipe replacement may even cause lead levels to spike. In the meantime, residents should consider using filters to remove lead from drinking water.
While water pitchers are the cheapest option on the market, they are ineffective against lead. One of the most cost-efficient ways to make your tap water cleaner and safer to consume is a water filter. These carbon-based faucet-mount mechanisms will eliminate harmful chemicals negatively affecting your health. Some water filters that remove lead are priced well under $100, which is a fair and important investment.
Do water filters remove lead from drinking water completely or there is still some left? High Water Standard solutions filter out 99% of lead as well as other contaminants: copper, aluminum, ammonia, chlorine as well as bacteria and viruses. We will protect you from these waterborne pollutants to help you live a long and healthy life.
After installing a filter capable of removing lead from drinking water, you will need to maintain it. When you want to limit your family’s exposure to lead to the highest extent, you will be using filtered water for both drinking and cooking. So, imagine the amounts of water going through the filter. This is why water filters need to be regularly replaced if you want to maximize the benefits.
Other Ways to Reduce Lead Exposure
There are some additional measures you can take to observe and limit the amount of lead you consume. Can you drink tap water in New Jersey? Here are some ways to make a decision and manage that situation:
- Look up information on lead levels in your area: A Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) is published annually on July 1st, presenting the summary on the water systems. The report also demonstrates the details of lead monitoring results.
- Get an in-home water test: High Water Standard offers free tests revealing the amount of lead and other contaminants in your tap water. And once your results come in, you will get a more in-depth consultation.
- Flush water through the pipes before consuming: This way, you’ll know the water you are getting through the faucet has not been sitting in your home’s pipes. If you used the faucet recently, 10-30 seconds will be enough.
- When possible, use cold water: it is less likely to be contaminated with lead.
It’s important to note that these measures have minimal effect. Even boiling water will not remove lead contamination. By far, the most effective method of improving New Jersey water quality is installing a faucet filter or a whole house water purification system. Only products that are designed for this specific purpose can make a real difference in the water quality.
There are many types of water filters on the market. But if you find the right one according to your requirements, it will give you the best value for your money. High Water Standard will help you pick a filtration system suited for your specific situation. Get in contact with us and if you live in New Jersey, we will install it and handle the maintenance and repairs as needed. In the end, everyone will benefit – you and your family’s health, the environment, and even your household budget.