Enhanced Testing Program Developed By US Expert Is Offered by Top University.
January 18, 2019
The NJDEP recently acknowledged that Red Bank Borough’s tap water testing for lead was “deficient” with “smoking gun” evidence, but it has yet to divulge any action it has taken to enforce the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. In addition, the borough has recently denied access to email communication it has with the NJDEP, such public access records that would bring transparency on an important public heath concern, lead in drinking water.
POP Founder, Alberto Larotonda, who filed the enforcement complaint, views the ongoing lack of government openness at the expense of infants, young children and expectant mothers, who represent the highest risk people susceptible to lead poisoning. It also hides a pattern of unbalanced testing between economically depressed and affluent areas of Red Bank as environmental injustice.
Through an unofficial source, POP has learned that the Red Bank Water Department will add many new residential testing sites to its water sampling plan. However, under federal law, the sampling must include no less than 60 single family building sites for its population of roughly 12,000, leaving residents living in multifamily buildings, condos and apartments in the dark. The testing goal is to show if water treatment is preventing water service lines and home plumbing from dissolving lead into tap water. However, the results vary from home to home, and the department has yet to inform the public of why, how and when it will select new sites.
In a proactive approach, Larotonda has consulted Professor Marc Edwards, a national expert on drinking water and a civil engineering professor at Virginia Tech. Edwards has direct experience in the Flint, Michigan water crisis and has made labs at the university available to an alliance of citizen groups and non-profit organizations with a testing method developed that is more thorough than that required under the federal safe drinking water law.
For interested households that were not selected for lead testing by their municipal or private water company, one alliance non-profit offers a do-it-yourself sampling kit for lead and other contaminants which is then processed through the Virginia Tech labs. The organization “Healthy Babies, Bright Futures”, (HBBF.org) addresses the risks of the youngest to lead, but its testing program applies to any home at only half the cost ($60) of commercial labs, or even on a “pay what you can afford” basis. A brochure can be found Here
Aside from the minimal testing performed by the Red Bank Water Department, or an individual -paid program, POP demands Red Bank Borough to seek grant funding so that any qualified home can have lead testing to take action on safer drinking water by using the above program made possible by Virginia Tech University. POP may also organize the public educational efforts required if such grants are obtained.
Red Bank POP continues to demand government transparency and welcomes solution-minded people and organizations to join its efforts at RedBankPOP.org.
Healthy Babies, Bright Futures Lead in Water Sampling Kit