IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT LEAD IN DRINKING WATER IN BERGEN AND HUDSON COUNTIES

Jan 16, 2019

Recent drinking water quality tests conducted by SUEZ found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes in Bergen and Hudson counties. Of 108 homes tested, 16 exceeded the lead action level.

The primary source of lead in drinking water is from service lines made of lead and from interior plumbing and fixtures that contain lead in homes. Service lines are pipes that extend from water mains in the streets to individual residences or businesses. Regulations require that the water system seek single family residences known to have lead service lines and/or interior plumbing with lead pipes or lead solder installed after 1982 for participation in sampling.

Lead can cause serious health issues, especially for pregnant women, infants and young children. It can damage the brain and kidneys and interfere with the body’s production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen. The EPA estimates that up to 20 percent of a person’s potential exposure to lead may come from drinking water. Infants who consume mostly formula mixed with lead-containing water can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.

In order to address potential lead issues, SUEZ enhanced its corrosion control treatment – considered industry best practice -- in 2017 to reduce scale and lead and copper deposits. Since that time, the company has carefully monitored the levels of corrosion control and continues to evaluate the treatment and will make adjustments as necessary. SUEZ continues to test homes throughout its system and further optimize corrosion control within the system.

 

SUEZ is also taking these steps for customers:

  • Customers who are/might be served by a utility-owned lead service line can request a free test of their drinking water.
  • A free water pitcher with a filter that removes lead will be provided to a customer if those test results are above the lead action level.
  • SUEZ has established a new water quality website – www.SUEZWQ.com -- to provide information about this issue.
  • Customers can find out if they may be served by a lead line by checking their online account, visiting www.SUEZWQ.com or www.mysuezwater.com/njwq, or calling or emailing customer service center at 800-422-5987 and sueznjcustserv@suez-na.com. SUEZ customer service representatives are available to answer questions, including those about lead lines and testing

 

In addition, SUEZ has been replacing lead service lines in its service territory for a number of years and will now upgrade its program to replace at least 7 percent of all of its lead service lines per year.  The portion of the service line that runs from our water mains to your property is owned by the utility, while the remaining portion that extends from your property line into your home or business belongs to the property owner. Property owners are encouraged to check their portion of the lines for lead and notify SUEZ at 800-422-5987 if a lead service line is identified.

 

“We are committed to providing our customers with safe drinking water that meets all standards,” said David Stanton, President, Utility Operations. “We continue to work closely with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and have assembled a team of water quality and operations experts to tackle this issue.”

SUEZ will be taking steps to educate customers through direct mail of educational materials to customers and other outreach efforts. The company encourages customers to check the interior plumbing of their homes and businesses because these pipes and fixtures may contain lead.  Homes or buildings built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. Other steps customers can take:

  1. Test water inside the home for lead. Customers served by a lead service line owned by the utility may call our customer service representatives for free testing of their drinking water. For other customers who want their water tested, the NJDEP maintains a list of certified laboratories, which can be found at https://www13.state.nj.us/DataMiner.
  2. Have a licensed plumber check if you have a lead service line and if interior faucets, pipes and fittings to determine if they contain lead. Pipes and lead-based solder can all leach lead into water. Faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may also contribute lead to drinking water.
  3. Get their children tested. Contact your local health agency and healthcare provider to provide tests and information about lead exposure.
  4. Run the water and flush out lead. The longer the water sits in plumbing, the more lead it contains. Let the water run from the tap before using it for drinking or cooking any time the faucet has gone unused for more than six hours. Flushing the tap means running the cold water faucet for about 15 to 30 seconds. Although toilet flushing or showering flushes water through a portion of the plumbing system, the water still needs to be flushed in a faucet used for drinking or cooking. For those with lead service lines, let the water run from the tap based on the length of the lead service line and the plumbing configuration in your home.
  5. Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Hot water can dissolve lead more quickly than cold water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
  6. Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
  7. Proper and routine maintenance of water softeners. It is very important that water softeners are maintained appropriately. Not properly maintaining a water softener could have a negative impact on the corrosivity of the water in your home.
  8. If lead is detected, look for alternative sources or treatment of water until the plumbing is repaired. A water filter may help. Be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 1-800-NSF-8010 or www.nsf.org for information on performance standards for water filters. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer.

Note: This notice only applies to customers served directly by SUEZ Hackensack; therefore, does not apply to residents in municipalities that bulk purchase water and/or contract with SUEZ to operate and maintain their water systems but where SUEZ does not own the systems, such as Jersey City, Bayonne, Hoboken, Rahway, Kearny and Orange.

About SUEZ North America

SUEZ North America operates across all 50 states and Canada with 3,260 employees dedicated to environmental sustainability and smart and sustainable resource management. The company provides drinking water, wastewater and waste collection service to 6.4 million people on a daily basis; treats over 600 million gallons of water and over 450 million gallons of wastewater each day; delivers water treatment and advanced network solutions to 16,000 industrial and municipal sites; processes 55,000 tons of waste for recycling; rehabilitates and maintains water assets for more than 4,000 municipal and industrial customers; and manages $4.1 billion in total assets. The company posted revenues of $1.064 billion in 2017 and is a subsidiary of Paris-based SUEZ.

About SUEZ

With 90,000 people on the five continents, SUEZ is a world leader in smart and sustainable resource management. We provide water and waste management solutions that enable cities and industries to optimize their resource management and strengthen their environmental and economic performances, in line with regulatory standards. To meet increasing demands to overcome resource quality and scarcity challenges, SUEZ is fully engaged in the resource revolution. With the full potential of digital technologies and innovative solutions, the Group recovers 17 million tons of waste a year, produces 3.9 million tons of secondary raw materials and 7 TWh of local renewable energy. It also secures water resources, delivering wastewater treatment services to 58 million people and reusing 882 million m3 of wastewater. SUEZ generated total revenues of $19.6 billion (15.9 billion euros) in 2017.

Press Contacts

Debra Vial at (201) 458-3279 or debra.vial@suez.com

Steve Goudsmith at (201) 225-6809 or steven.goudsmith@suez.com

Rich Henning at (201) 767-2869 or  rich.henning@suez.com

 

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