Board of Education moves forward on water treatment upgrades in Hopewell Valley

Hopewell Valley Regional’s Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a contract with Robert Griggs Plumbing and Heating to install water treatment upgrades at Timberlane Middle School and Bear Tavern Elementary.

Board members voted on the contract with Robert Griggs Plumbing and Heating, a full service plumbing, heating and mechanical contractor, at the Dec. 16 Board of Education meeting.

The water treatment upgrades are to address the the Perfluorononanoic Acid (PFNA) in the school’s water systems.

PFNA is a fully fluorinated carboxylic acid and was historically used primarily as a processing aid in the emulsion process used to make fluoropolymers (plastics). PFNA is extremely persistent in the environment and is soluble in water, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

“Working in conjunction with our environmental consultant [PARS Environmental, Inc.] and NJDEP, we will be installing a resin and granulated activated carbon system to treat PFNA,” said Thomas Quinn, head of facilities.

The carbon system is an adsorption treatment system that adds a cleansing substance directly to the water supply or through a mixing basin. The system serves as a water filter, according to Koshland Science Museum officials.

“The running annual average for PFNA at Bear Tavern is 14.5 nanograms per liter (ng/L), which is slightly above the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 13 ng/L. The running annual average for PFNA at Timberlane is 12.7 ng/L, which is below the MCL,” Quinn said.

According to Quinn, this is a recent occurrence at Bear Tavern and Timberlane.

“The NJDEP issued a notice of non-compliance for PFNA at Bear Tavern on Nov. 12,” Quinn said. “As noted above, PFNA is below the MCL at Timberlane.”

Back in 2018, New Jersey became the first state to create a safe drinking standard for PFNA.

State officials said people drinking PFNA in the water at levels above the state maximum contaminant level over many years could experience problems with their liver, kidney, immune or reproductive systems.