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Middlesex Water Company expands PFOA drinking water notice; reports water still safe to use

Issues with how an environmental services company tested for lead in the Hillsborough Township Public School District’s water has raised some concerns with officials

Middlesex Water Company has expanded its initial drinking water notification regarding perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) to include all residential and retail customers served by its Park Avenue treatment plant in South Plainfield, according to an updated notice on Nov. 1.

The initial notification only included a portion of the water company’s (MWC) customers the week of Oct. 11.

Residential and retail MWC customers are in South Plainfield, Clark, Edison, Metuchen, Woodbridge and Carteret.

The updated notice follows continuous analysis and based on a recent conclusion, the new areas “receive some portion of the water supply from the treatment plant” that exceeded the state’s PFOA drinking water standard, according to the notice.

The exceedance of the PFOA drinking water standard remains a Tier 2 violation. Dennis Doll, the president and chief executive officer of the company, has said the water continues to be safe for customers to use.

PFOA is a member of the group of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), used as a processing aid in the manufacture of fluoropolymers used in non-stick cookware and other products, as well as other commercial and industrial uses, based on its resistance to harsh chemicals and high temperatures.

PFOA has also been used in aqueous film-forming foams for firefighting and training, and it is found in consumer products such as stain-resistant coatings for upholstery and carpets, water-resistant outdoor clothing, and greaseproof food packaging, according to the water company.

Current scientific research suggests exposure to high levels of certain PFAS over many years may lead to adverse health outcomes.

New Jersey is one of seven states that have enforceable regulation drinking water standards for PFAS.

The New Jersey Department of Health advises that infant formula and other beverages for infants, such as juice, should be prepared with bottled water when PFOA is elevated in drinking water.

Women who are pregnant, nursing or considering having children may choose to use bottled water for drinking and cooking to reduce exposure to PFOA. Residents can consider installing in-home water treatment (filters) that are certified to lower the levels of PFAS in the water, according to information provided during a presentation the water company held in Woodbridge on Oct. 25.

For more information, contact the company’s Customer Service Department at 800-549-3802 or visit www.middlesexwater.com/alerts. Also customers can visit the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection website at www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/pfas.

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