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Meeting To Be Held At Local High School To Discuss Water Safety In Paulsboro

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By Cleve Bryan

PAULSBORO, N.J. (CBS) – A Borough council meeting is being held at Paulsboro High School Monday night to allow residents the opportunity to ask questions about contamination in their water supply.

In mid-January Mayor Jeffery Hamilton sent a letter to residents warning of high levels of the chemical compound perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) in the tap water.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection says the PFNA has been detected in some water supplies throughout the state but recent levels in Paulsboro are much higher than what’s been found anywhere else.

The NJDEP and NJ Department of Health will be at the Monday night meeting to answer questions about PFNA which officials say is an unregulated industrial chemical compound with little available research on its possible health risks in drinking water.

As a precaution families in Paulsboro are being told not to give tap water to children younger than one-year-old.

Tom Thistlewood has five kids who are all older than one, but he is still worried.

“I have a son with type-1 diabetes, so one more thing for him? Is it going to complicate his situation?” questions Thistlewood.

Weiss Hardware is a distribution center for free cases of water provided by Soylan Specialty Polymers.

Soylan manufactures plastics in West Deptford and used PFNA from 1985 until 2010.  Since it is an unregulated chemical compound the company legally discharged PFNA into the Delaware River.

Soylan is working with the NJDEP as well as Paulsboro to clean up the water supply in addition to providing the free bottled water but they are not claiming responsibility for contaminating the water.

Plant manager Geoff Pass says Soylan will be available to answer questions to residents at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“These efforts made are made without any admission of liability or fault. Based on the data we seen so far we do not believe there is a public health threat in Paulsboro or in any of the neighboring communities,” says Pass.

The NJDEP says Paulsboro’s water supply should be free of PFNA within four weeks as a well now closed for maintenance goes back online and the contaminated well is outfitted with a carbon filter.

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