Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Jersey Tries to Lead America in Water Testing

A local water emergency closed my local Starbucks in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, this morning for the day. It's far from being the first time it's happened. Here is an article about a closure last summer, July 31, 2008.

The Hopewell Township Health Department ordered residents affected through "reverse-911" telephone calls to boil their water for 24 hours for their own safety. By noon, the piping problem had been resolved, according to the Health Department.

The Hopewell Township, New Jersey Health Department prides itself as having among the strictest water tests in the country. Town officials tend to get little credit for "doing the right thing" for the general population as far as water testing is concerned, because results are not publicized. Remember that John Travolta film supposedly set in Woburn, Massachusetts, "A Civil Action" (1998)? -- not good for real estate values.

This closure might be bigger news if it happened in neighboring Princeton, home of world famous Princeton University. Luckily for us, we live a few miles away from the area affected in Hopewell Township and have a well. Since water tests currently cost at least $400 in New Jersey, few homeowners do it unless they are required to do so before moving house, if they have a private well. "Landlords must also provide the test results to each new tenant and retest the well every five years" says The New York Times.

While it's not exactly a national emergency, why hasn't this closure been mentioned in news online anywhere today? How would you feel if you hadn't been told to boil the water? How would you feel if you had to boil your water (if you haven't already had to do so)? As far as water safety is concerned, do you just trust in town and city officials to keep water levels safe, or do you test your own water periodically?

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