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Ho-Ho-Kus to Upgrade its Water Treatment System

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ho-Ho-Kus NJ, Borough of Ho-Ho-Kus to upgrade its Water Treatment System to remove all of these contaminates from our system even those below the standards.

“To the residents and business owners of Ho-Ho-Kus,

In the next few days, you will be receiving a letter informing you of contaminants known as PFNA & PFOA in our drinking water at levels above the new NJDEP drinking water standard effective this year. The Borough takes water quality extremely seriously and has been engaged since this regulation was announced two years ago that is taking effect now. Our plan upon learning of this issue was to work to ensure we would have a state-of-the-art system to remedy the problem as soon as it was possible to have in place. It is important to note and in no way meant to diminish concerns, that the technology to analyze these compounds at these very low limits of parts per trillion level or ppt (the equivalent to 1 drop of water in 20 Olympic size pools) is recent. The requirement to look for these specific compounds in the water supplies in New Jersey began in 2019 for PFNA and in 2021 for PFOA. These compounds are part of a family of chemicals that have been produced as early as the 1930’s with PFOA produced since the 1940s and PFNA since the 1970s. In addition, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has not even established a drinking water standard for these contaminants but their recommended health advisory guideline is 70 ppt for PFOA – none of our results are close to those levels. There isn’t a federal guideline for PFNA. New Jersey has taken an extremely aggressive approach at 13 and 14 parts per trillion compared to the Federal guideline. While we can appreciate the States noble goal, enforcing this on every small municipally-owned system in the state at the same time creates problems from the standpoint of availability of equipment and timing to design multiple treatment systems for compounds previously undetectable. Even starting from day one (as The Borough Officials and Experts did), the process has dragged out far longer than we hoped due to factors beyond our control. It is also important to note New Jersey is one of only about four states to have these types of standards that are so low.

Back in 2019 when the state announced the plan to test for these compounds the Borough of Ho-Ho-Kus held a Town Hall meeting to announce it would be proactively designing a system to remove all of these contaminates from our system even those below the standards. Since that time, we have tested the newest systems that have come out as this field is emerging and chosen a system that had not existed two years ago. We will be meeting with the DEP of New Jersey this week in an attempt to accelerate their approvals and funding of our project, with the hopes of having that system based on availability in place by next year. Please note many small and large municipally-owned water systems in the state of New Jersey (including all of our neighboring systems) are faced with the same exact issue. The Ho-Ho-Kus governing body has taken a very proactive approach from day one and has been in front of this since it was announced more than two years ago in anticipation of this day coming. We have the funding in place and a treatment system design currently in the States hands awaiting their final approvals. Once that happens, we will be out to bid for the project within days of that approval on a system which we estimate it will cost between $2.5 and $3 million.”

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