Residents in Bergen and Hudson counties whose homes were built prior to 1986 are being encouraged to get their water tested because there’s a chance they could be drinking lead-infused water.
In a press conference Tuesday, officials with the Suez Water Company confirmed that 16 of 108 homes tested in Bergen and Hudson Counties showed elevated lead levels in drinking water during a routine check.
Suez officials said they have reported to the results to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
"We had a very limited number of homes that had lead levels in their homes exceeding the government’s standards," said Suez President David Stanton.
Suez said the lead contamination likely came from two places: pipes that extend from water mains under the street into homes, and from lead fixtures in homes.
Suez provides water to about 800,000 customers in Bergen and Hudson counties from their treatment plant in Haworth. The company stresses this is not a system-wide problem and no lead has been detected in the water leaving the company’s treatment plant.
“The water that is leaving this facility has no detectable levels of lead. In addition to that, I am proud to say it meets all safety drinking water standards," Vice President of Suez Mark McKoy said.
Stanton said they are committed to fixing the problem.
“We will continue to rigorously monitor our system to ensure that it's working exactly as designed and we’re going to do 12 months of testing to be sure the corrosion control is working," Stanton said.
Suez advises the following:
Customers who are served by a utility-owned lead service line can request a free test of their drinking water
A water filter that removes lead will be provided to a customer if those test results are above the government standard.