Elevated lead levels found in water in 2 New Jersey counties

HAWORTH, New Jersey (WABC) -- SUEZ water on Wednesday announced that quality testing has found elevated levels of lead in the drinking water in some homes in two New Jersey counties.

Officials said they have reported to the results to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

The elevated lead levels were detected in a limited number of homes in Bergen and Hudson counties.

While 16 of the 108 homes tested above the government standard, SUEZ is telling customers that the problem is being taken seriously.

SUEZ says it is taking the following immediate steps:

--Customers who are served by a utility-owned lead service line can request a free test of their drinking water
--A water filter that removes lead will be provided to a customer if those test results are above the government standard
--Customers can find out if they may be served by a lead line by checking their online account at MySUEZWater.com/njwq, visiting SUEZWQ.com, or calling or emailing customer service center at 800-422-5987 and sueznjcustserv@suez-na.com.

SUEZ customer service representatives are available to answer questions, including those about lead lines and testing

Officials say the likely source of lead in drinking water is from the service lines, pipes that extend from the water mains to the homes and businesses, and from lead fixtures in customer homes.

All of the 108 homes tested had lead lines, and approximately 5 percent of the utility-owned service lines in the SUEZ system contain lead. An additional 15 percent of the system has lead goosenecks, a short piece of flexible pipe that connect a water main to a service line.

The water leaving the SUEZ plant has no detectable level of lead. In addition, there are no lead water mains.

"Water quality is so important to SUEZ that we perform nearly 50,000 tests each year in this system alone," officials said in a statement. "To prevent lead from leaching into the water, SUEZ has had a corrosion control treatment program in place for decades. Essentially, this coats the pipes to prevent lead from entering the water. We are monitoring, testing and reviewing this treatment, which is considered to be industry best practice."

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