The two top officials of a public water authority serving two communities in northern New Jersey have been indicted on charges they hid elevated levels of a contaminant in the drinking water supply.

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New Jersey's attorney general says the indictment was handed up Tuesday against 58-year-old Harry Mansmann of Lawrenceville, the executive director of the East Orange Water Commission, and 51-year-old William Mowell of Wyckoff, his assistant.

The two are accused of shutting down contaminated wells prior to monthly water tests to hide elevated levels of an industrial solvent used for dry cleaning and other purposes. The chemical, tetrachlorethene, is classified as a probable carcinogen.

The charges against them include conspiracy, official misconduct, records-tampering and violating New Jersey's Safe Drinking Water Act.

The East Orange Water Commission serves about 71,000 customers in East Orange and 17,000 in South Orange.


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