Five Toms River Water Wells Found With Chemicals
Toms River residents who live in the vicinity of Windsor Avenue, Oceanic Drive, and Peddie Street, who are not connected to city water, are being advised that the NJDEP is conducting well water testing after chemical contaminants were found in five residential wells.
The township announced in a post for residents on their website testing is being done due to evidence of groundwater contamination found in Toms River.
Town officials said that they were contacted about a year ago by a resident who notified them that their well had tested positive for TCE and PCE.
Toms River officials said they then relayed that information to the NJDEP for guidance.
The Township also provided homeowner information of the surrounding area for which the Department conducted several rounds of well testing.
While all of the testing has been done, the township and NJDEP have been in communication about this matter and some preliminary data has recently come in from the NJDEP.
While a majority of the wells tested negative for these compounds, three additional wells did test positive.
The Department is now widening the testing area.
The Township is providing information and support to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and said that they will convey additional information once received.
- Of the initial 41 wells tested – 5 tested positive, 10 tested negative, and 26 were not given access.
- The NJDEP plans to expand the testing area to include another 42 wells extending several hundred feet from any well that tested positive.
- Toms River officials said that historically, there had been some wells adjacent to this area that had tested positive in the past, and city water was extended to those areas. Until now, wells in this area were not affected.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Sierra Club caught wind of the announcement and released a statement of their own with concern for what the testing uncovered.
“The people of Toms River for far too long have been victimized by groundwater contamination going back to the 1990’s. Whether its Reich Farm, Ceiba Geigy, or Windsor Park. This area has had a history with water contamination," Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club said. "It’s good that DEP is testing the private wells, however they need to do more to find the source of contamination and remove it. Exposure to chemicals like Trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene have been linked to kidney dysfunction and other health risks. VOCs can permanently pollute our groundwater, which is why it is critical for New Jersey to protect the people of Toms River continue to contain the pollution before it spreads to any more wells."
Tittel brings up the history of water problems in Toms River citing pollution that he said was discovered in Windsor Park groundwater in the early 1990's at which time seven residential wells in the Beachwood and Veeder Avenue areas had mercury concentrations above the state standard of two parts per billion.
He also brought up the dangerous Ciba-Geigy property which has also been a headache for Toms River.
Pollution at the chemical site is still being cleaned up as a Super Fund site that prompted lawsuits and a $13 million settlement to nearby families stricken with cancer.
“The people of Toms River have been suffering from contamination for too long. From the recent VOCs discovery today to the ongoing DDT contamination at Ciba Geigy, enough is enough," Tittel said. "The DEP need to act quickly to make sure that resident’s public health and safety are protected. More importantly, they need to come up with an effective plan to get rid of contamination from private drinking wells and groundwater and hold polluters accountable. The DEP need to meet with the DWQI and set stricter standards for toxic chemicals like TCE and PCE. We can’t continue to wait. Every day we’re finding more and more chemicals in our water.”
In 2019, the DEP updated a guidance document, Capping of Volatile Contaminants for the Impact to Ground Water Pathway, which includes additional language stating that "all exposure pathways, including the vapor intrusion pathway, must be addressed in all cases."
“DEP need to create stronger policies when it comes to cleaning up contaminated sites. The department’s guidance proposal lets polluters off the hook and exempts them from having to clean up contaminated groundwater," Tittel said.