The following was presented by David Misiolek, Hopewell Borough Director of Water and Sewers, to the Hopewell Borough Council at the meeting on March 3, 2016:
In light of recent media coverage questioning the safety of pubic water, I can assure the residents and visitors of Hopewell Borough that our water is safe and in compliance with all NJDEP standards and that lead has not been an issue here in the Borough.
Unlike the system in Flint, Michigan and elsewhere, we have been very proactive for the past 29 years removing any lead components while replacing water service lines and water mains. These improvements were, and currently are, performed during annual road improvement projects. Our infrastructure is somewhat old but fortunately lead was used on a very limited basis only at water main joints and a short section on the service tap called a lead gooseneck. In many water systems similar in age, lead was used much more extensively.
Small public and especially private water systems are notorious for not investing and improving their infrastructure which is understandable due to associated costs, but I believe Hopewell Borough is an exception to that precedent due to the commitment of past and present leadership.
Although we did not have any lead issues prior to 2006, we began using a corrosion control inhibitor (zinc orthophosphate) during the latter part of the year due to discoloration issues. The discoloration developed when we switched from a portion of our ground water supply to an interconnection with N.J. American Water. Zinc orthophosphate creates a barrier between the inner wall of the pipe and the water supply thus prohibiting the leeching of metals from the pipe into the water supply.
In June 1986, the USEPA banned the use of lead solder, pipe, and plumbing fixtures in the installation and repair of public water systems and residential construction. NJDEP requires the Borough to sample and test water for lead and copper from 10 residential homes built between 1982 and 1987. Samples taken from our system since 2006 have produced non-detectable levels of lead and allowed us to go on a reduced monitoring schedule.
Our water system information, which includes sample analysis results for lead and any regulated contaminant, can be viewed online at NJDEP-Drinking WaterWatch (for Hopewell Borough click here).