"Obviously, you don't want anything like this in your watershed," said Michael Barnes, chief engineer of the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission.
The reservoir is filled by surface water, said Barnes
, with no pumping or discharge from deep aquifers.
That brook eventually merges with another to form a small river, one of 20 or so draining the watershed and filling the reservoir, Barnes
said.Each is monitored monthly for contamination.
The result: By the time the water reaches the Wanaque Reservoir, said Barnes
, it's clean enough, chemically speaking, to drink.
"Before it even gets to the reservoir to be treated, you could drink it for lead," he
said, meaning that it is well within federal clean-water standards for lead contamination.He
cited raw water tests from a U.S. Geological Survey sampling station just above the reservoir that show lead concentrations below government action levels for private homes, and in some cases undetectable.
says the water is clean enough to drink where it enters the reservoir at the Ringwood River, of course no one does.Whatever pours into the reservoir from Ringwood is diluted in the 30 billion-gallon "holding tank" and begins its 300-day migration to the water-treatment plant six miles south.
At the treatment plant, suspended solids come together and settle out through a process called flocculation.Water is filtered and chlorinated, achieving a clarity that far exceeds federal standards, Barnes
said, before being piped to users.
Further downstream in the system, the company adds a corrosion inhibitor, so the water doesn't cause lead and copper to leach from indoor pipes and fixtures. [See accompanying article about federal standards for lead in drinking water.]
"When the water leaves the plant, I'll say there is virtually no lead in the water," said Barnes
Besides industrial pollution, the commission guards against many other threats, including terrorism, fertilizer runoff, septic overflows and hazardous waste at other sites, Barnes
well aware of Ford's legacy, the ongoing cleanup and the involvement of federal and state regulators, he
"It's something we've seen and we continue to watch," he
"We'll do whatever it takes," said Barnes
, "to protect our member communities."
...I want to know how much total there is and how much have you recovered," said Barnes, the water commission's chief engineer.
"Where did it all go?"The calculation should start with Ford's
production numbers, he
said, and "work it backwards."
...Barnes, the water commission's chief engineer, knows what he'd like to do about the stuff in the mines: Get rid of it.
Dry out the mine, extract whatever waste is inside, and truck it to a landfill outside the watershed, he
is worried that when the mines' status quo is disturbed, problems might follow."We're going to be concerned when they start digging around, finding drums, whatever that's in there," he
..."Obviously, you don't want anything like this in your watershed," said Michael Barnes, chief engineer of the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission.