| Things to think about
Access to potable water is the single biggest public health
issue in the world.
Bottled water often
costs more per gallon than gasoline or milk.
Drinking water is
not regularly tested for all possible contaminants. Approximately
90 microbiological, radiological, and chemical contaminants
are monitored in New Jersey’s drinking water supplies.
have become more rigorous, due in part to the fact that more
chemicals and contaminants are now regulated than ever before.
the 1999 Sustainable State Project Report, the primary graph
for this indicator showed the percentage of water systems testing
for volatile organic compounds (17 contaminants) that met the
drinking water standards. It is shown here as a secondary indicator.
In this report, the primary graph shows compliance with all
chemical and microbiological standards for drinking water.
Jersey we are blessed with abundant water supplies and drinking
water systems that protect us from many of the chemicals, radiological
contaminants, bacteria, viruses, and parasites that affect the
health of people in many other parts of the world. However,
regular testing of drinking water is necessary to protect the
safety of our water supplies. This indicator tells us what percent
of our community water supplies met all drinking water safety
standards. Since 1995, the number of community water systems
that met all safety standards has remained between 97 and 99
percent for microbiological standards and between 87 and 93
percent for chemical standards. The number of community water
systems testing within allowable limits for volatile organic
compounds has increased from a low of 78 percent in 1985 to
92 percent in 1998. Sources of contamination in drinking water
supplies are industrial pollution of groundwater, urban and
agricultural runoff, and industrial discharges into surface
with poor water quality, property values fall and economic potential
declines. The most cost-effective way to avoid these losses
is through prevention of pollution. Once a water supply is contaminated,
treatment costs can easily run into the millions of dollars.
Paying for these treatment costs can be especially difficult
for communities with small water systems.
that do not meet safety standards for people may also contain
chemicals that can harm ecosystems and sensitive wildlife such
as frogs, whose populations have declined substantially in recent
years. Clean water and a pollution-free environment are as vital
to our ecosystems as they are to our health.
safe and stable water supply is a foundation for any civilization
and is important to New Jersey’s communities. Residents of many
New Jersey towns have concerns about the health of their water
systems and are seeking new ways to learn about the quality
of their drinking water. Access to a healthy water supply is
essential to the well-being of our communities.
measured here are only a portion of the known drinking water
contaminants suspected to be detrimental to human health. Research
is currently underway to identify additional contaminants of
importance in drinking water supplies. The data do not include
the test results from more than 4,000 non-community water systems
in New Jersey. Noncommunity water systems do not serve permanent
residents and include office buildings and highway rest stops.
Source: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection