People in Mercer County are afraid to drink their tap water
There is growing concern about Trenton Water Works.
Last month, residents in Trenton, Hamilton, Ewing, Lawrence and Hopewell Township turned on their faucets to finds purple or pink water flowing.
State and city officials at the time said the discoloration was caused by a water treatment chemical and that the water was safe.
But earlier this month, the state Department of Environmental Protection ordered the utility to take corrective action to make sure it is providing a safe product for customers within 30 days, in accordance with the Clean Water Act.
Some legislators want to meet with the DEP, the Board of Public Utilities and the utility to seek solutions for what they term a growing problem with the safety of the water coming out of people’s taps.
Assemblyman Dan Benson, D-Mercer, says Trenton Water Works has had a number of issues involving different contaminants, including high acid levels and not putting fluoride into the water.
“It appears to be there’s either a lack of staff or a lack of experience," he said. “What we need to have is confidence in the system, we need to make sure there’s stronger oversight.”
Meanwhile, state Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Mercer, has introduced two bills aimed at protecting Trenton Water Works customers.
She pointed out some members of the City Council in Trenton have asked for an investigation into what’s happening because “the water should not be purple or any other color. It should be clean, clear water.”
She said one measure stipulates that “if there is a need to boil the water then the customers and their families should be notified within an hour.”
She added under a second measure, Trenton Water Works would have to notify all mayors, municipal clerks and the county about a need to boil water.
“There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind when they turn on their water faucets that the water should be clean and safe to drink," she said.
Turner noted because of ongoing questions about contamination and the inability of Trenton Water Works to communicate problems in a timely manner, “people are not comfortable using it.”
She also noted it’s become obvious Trenton Water Works does not have the experts or necessary staff that’s needed to properly maintain the utility, a situation that is not acceptable.
“There’s no excuse for not having for having clean water because people are, and rightly so, they’re very alarmed about the fact that they don’t know what’s coming out of their faucets.”
Messages left for Trenton Water Works seeking comment were not immediately answered Friday.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com