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Trace amounts of chemical found in South Orange water supply

The township of South Orange Village released a statement Jan. 24 regarding the presence of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in the ground water of the South Orange public water system. According to the press release, the water in the contaminated well, South Orange’s well #17, “represents only about 10 percent of the water introduced into the distribution system and it is blended with other non-contaminated water prior to delivery to any consumer.” The one specific PFC found in the South Orange system is perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA). The press release said that PFCs are used in industries for their water and heat resistant properties. The Village became aware of the chemical issue during the week before the statement was released. Authorities said the PFCs in the water can have harmful health effects if the water is consumed over the course of a lifetime. “The water actually delivered to consumers likely has PFOA levels below the guidance limits,” according to the press release. “In addition, the one test result, 58 parts per trillion, was only about 14 percent of the US EPA Public Health Advisory limit of 400 parts per trillion for short term exposures. It did exceed the NJ DEP guideline of 40 parts per trillion, but that is for chronic or lifetime exposure.” PFCs are not regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), according to the press release. The Setonian will continue to investigate this situation. Leah Carton can be reached at


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