NJDWSC Report

  • North Jersey District Water Supply Commission Report and the Wanaque Reservoir

    • A chemical, known as 1,4-Dioxane, has been found in groundwater and limited surface water areas at the site where paint sludge was dumped more than 40 years ago.

    • Dioxane is not Dioxin. Dioxin is a different family of compounds.1,4-Dioxane is a synthetic industrial chemical that is completely mixable with water. It is found in many products, including paint strippers, dyes, greases varnishes and waxes; it is also found in some consumer products (deodorants, shampoos and cosmetics).

    • 1,4-Dioxane does not present a significant threat to human health under current site circumstances; no one is drinking the groundwater at the site or otherwise exposed to significant levels.

    • The groundwater test was taken about 1 mile from the Wanaque Reservoir and more than 7.5 miles from the Reservoir’s intake.

    • 1,4-Dioxane has not been detected in any groundwater or surface water sample from the site at concentration in excess of EPA’s lifetime health advisory of 200 ug/L for drinking water

    • EPA will continue to monitor for 1,4-Dioxane during future groundwater and surface water sampling events at the site.

    • The chemical has not been detected in the Reservoir and the probability of the chemical reaching the Reservoir’s treatment plant is low.

    • That information was reported in a study that was commissioned by and presented to the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission – the operator of the nearby Wanaque Reservoir. 

    • Ground water – not to be confused with potable drinking water – is water that is found beneath the ground surface, often between saturated soil and solid rock. (Also see definitions of different types of water in FAQ section).

    • The Wanaque Reservoir is not the primary source of drinking water to the Borough of Ringwood, but it is the source of drinking water for about 14 other communities in the region. Ringwood utilizes the Wanaque Reservoir as a back-up source for potable water during select Summer months. Recent years and percentage in which the Borough utilized the Reservoir, included:

    • 2008 – 41.57% (Improvements to Borough water system to become more self-sufficient occurred from 2008-2014)
    • 2014 – 3.02%
    • 2015 – 3.1%
    • 2016 – 8.62% (during Borough’s water tank repair project)
    • 2017 – 5.8% (to date during Borough’s water tank repair project)

    • Ground water – not to be confused with potable drinking water – is water that is found beneath the ground surface, often between saturated soil and solid rock (Click here for EPA definitions of different types of water)

    • 1,4-Dioxane was first found by the Borough in 2015, in groundwater that was collected from Peters Mine and subsequently was found in groundwater at other areas of the Superfund site. The chemical also was found offsite in Pine Brook, and trace amounts in the stream at Sally’s Pond. 

    • The Wanaque Reservoir has been tested at least twice since 2013 for 1,4-Dioxane, with no sign of the chemical. The first test was conducted in 2013 during a nationally mandated test for all water systems, and the second test was done in March of 2016.  The second test were conducted in six locations, including Ringwood Creek and the intake of the Reservoir’s treatment plant and the distribution system.

    • Nonetheless, the report recommended that a system be built to pump contaminated groundwater to the surface and decontaminate it, to avoid the possibility of the chemical reaching the reservoir’s intake. 

    • Under EPA oversight, a feasibility study is currently being prepared which will evaluate remedial alternatives for addressing groundwater contamination at the Ringwood Mines/Landfill site.