NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) – Elevated levels of lead are in the drinking water of some homes in two New Jersey counties, according to the company responsible for managing the quality of water.
On Wednesday, SUEZ Water confirmed 16 of 108 homes tested in Bergen County and Hudson County showed levels lead above government standards and urged using a filter that removes lead for affected homes.
Lead can build up in a body and cause brain damage, reports CBS2’s Meg Baker.
The company blamed service lines that connect from water mains into homes, with 1 in 20 such lines still containing lead, especially in homes built before 1986 in northeastern New Jersey.
SUEZ said there was no lead detected in the water leaving their water plant near the Oradell Reservoir or in the main water lines.
“An additional 15 percent of our system has lead goosenecks – a short piece of flexible pipe that connect a water main to a service line,” the company said.
SUEZ customers can can check on their potential lead status at www.mysuezwater.com/njwq or calling or emailing the company 800-422-5987 and sueznjcustserv[at]suez-na.com.
If high levels of lead are found, SUEZ will provide a free water filter. Fully replacing lead service lines on a property can cost from $3,500 to $6000.
Press Conference With SUEZ Water Company Officials
In a press conference held Wednesday afternoon, SUEZ officials noted the notice for Hudson County did not include municipalities where the company contracts directly, such as Jersey City, Hoboken, Bayonne or Kearny, but may apply to communities to the north.
In August, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla took SUEZ Water to task after a series of water main breaks, but the company blamed ruptures on the New Jersey city’s aged infrastructure dating to the 1800s.