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Ridgewood details water quality after public concerns about lead contamination


JANUARY 26, 2016, 8:53 PM    LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2016, 9:04 PM

RIDGEWOOD — Local officials are looking to assuage public concerns about lead in drinking water after a letter from the local water utility recommended its customers take steps to avoid lead exposure.

The letter, sent to Ridgewood Water’s customers in Glen Rock, Midland Park, Wyckoff, and Ridgewood on Jan. 5, detailed lead’s health-damaging effects and advised customers to let water run to flush out lead that could’ve leached into the system from service lines and fixtures.

But David Scheibner, business manager for Ridgewood Water, said Monday night the letter is part of a public education campaign required by the state Department of Environmental Protection because of Ridgewood Water’s past history of elevated lead levels — not because of a new threat posed to the water supply.

Ridgewood Water’s pipes don’t have lead in them, he said, and the element is “undetectable” at the 52 wells in four communities that the utility operates. But those who live in homes built prior to 1930 might have lead service lines — water lines running from the house to the water main — and those homes built during 1982 –86 might have copper service lines soldered with lead, he said.

Only about 250 of the 20,000 service connections in Ridgewood Water’s territory have been identified as definitively having a line made of either lead or copper with lead soldering, said Scheibner — “The scope is minor, but we take it very seriously,” he said.