A recent report being circulated throughout the press has stated that 90% of the water systems in the United States are “contaminated” with Chromium-6. The report was issued by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an advocacy group in California that proposes extremely strict public heath goals on various constituents present in air and water. They do not represent any regulatory authority, additionally State and Federal government agencies do not currently advocate their findings due to a lack of sufficient scientific data. A spokesperson for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has stated that EWG’s analysis is “critically flawed and blatantly misleading”. The group's recommended goal for an MCL for Chromium-6 is 0.02 parts per billion.
Chromium-6 is one of the forms of total chromium, and is suspected of being carcinogenic. It is naturally present in the environment in low levels from the erosion of natural mineral deposits. It has also been detected in higher levels in the environment from industrial contamination from the metal plating and leather tanning industries. It is also used as a wood preservative. The EPA and NJDEP maximum contaminant level (MCL) for total chromium is 100 parts per billion (ppb). There is no current MCL for Chromium-6, but mandatory Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR3) sampling of water systems nation-wide was conducted between 2013 and 2015 for several unregulated constituents including Chromium-6. The EPA will be using this data to establish new MCL’s for these contaminants in the future. California is currently the only state with an MCL for Chromium-6, set at 10 ppb.
Chromium-6 has been detected in some of Montville's UCMR3 samples at levels between 0.03 and 0.11 parts per billion. This is 100 times lower than the strictest California standard, and 1000 times lower than the current EPA and NJDEP standard for total chromium. Based on this data Montville's water far exceeds all Safe Drinking Water Standards and there in no cause for concern. Your water is perfectly safe for daily consumption. If you would like more information on the Montville water system feel free to call our office at (973) 331-3330.
John C. Perry, Director
Montville Township Department of Public Works and Water and Sewer Utilities