Ridgewood residents worried and angry after water company reports system exceeds levels of cancer-linked chemicals

ByShannon J. Cortes

Oct 21, 2022

RIDGEWOOD, NJ — Residents of a New Jersey town are nervous after receiving another advisory that their drinking water system contains higher levels of a family of chemicals that have been linked to cancer and others health problems.

As CBS2’s Christine Sloan reports, people come to live in Ridgewood for its school system and quaint downtown. Why are so many people angry? The village water company has still not corrected the problem since it was discovered more than a year ago.

Water company officials told CBS2 they had a response plan, they were minimizing the risks and it was going to take some time.

Ridgewood’s water system is causing concern after many residents received a notice from the City of Ridgewood Water Department alerting them that their water system exceeds state levels of a class of chemicals called PFAS and PFOAS.

“It’s very concerning that we’re paying our taxes and the water situation is so bad,” said Ridgewood resident Dave Lubkenman.

Lubkenman says he now has to spend money on some sort of water filtration system.

“We have kids. We switched after getting the notice last year and doing some research. We switched to bottled water. Now we’re looking at a reverse osmosis filtration system for the home,” did he declare.

Others are just angry.

“With the taxes we pay, it’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous,” one man said.

The chemicals found in Ridgewood’s water system are used in fire-retardant foams and nonstick cookware, as well as “upholstery and carpet coatings,” according to the advisory.

The advisory also states that people who drink water with high levels of PFAS over time could experience problems with their “immune system, kidney, liver or endocrine system” and that PFOAS may increase the risk of “testicular and kidney cancer”.

“It’s very concerning, and they need to do something about it,” one woman said.

The water company declined a TV interview but said: ‘We are in court to hold the companies responsible for the contamination accountable, so that they, and not you, pay the costs of carrying out the work.

Officials also say they are designing, purchasing and testing a treatment system, and that the elderly, children and people with health conditions should drink bottled water.

A woman told CBS2 she wanted answers.

“They just say it’s been there for years and years. It’s like nothing to worry about or getting a water filter or whatever. It’s not taken really seriously,” he said. she declared.

Water company officials also tell CBS2 that it’s important to note that water providers across the country face the same challenges. They also say they have to build 12 new water plants. In Ridgewood, they have already built two, and one is under construction.

The whole process will be completed in 2026.