Raritan Headwaters Association > News & Blog > Calendar > Rise of Arsenic Levels, Other Pollutants to be Addressed in Nov. 7 State of Our Watershed

Rise of Arsenic Levels, Other Pollutants to be Addressed in Nov. 7 State of Our Watershed

By | October 29th, 2015

What you don’t see or taste in your water may very well be hurting you, and over-development and climate change could be the key culprits, according to preliminary findings from RHA’s Long-Term Trend Analysis of Groundwater Pollutants.

Dr. Dave Robinson

Dr. Dave Robinson

The findings, along with those of the 2014-2015 Stream Monitoring and Community Well Testing Program, will be presented at our annual State of Our Watershed Conference, to be held 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Oldwick Firehouse, 163 Oldwick Road.

The morning’s featured speaker will be New Jersey State Climatologist Dr. David A. Robinson, who will discuss the impact of climate change on the Raritan Basin.

The annual State of Our Watershed focuses on the health of the region’s water quality. This year, testing results suggest that climate change could be spurring rising levels of arsenic and other harmful pollutants.

Droughts are often affiliated with a changing climate, and the Raritan headwaters region is under a drought watch issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). When droughts occur, aquifers become depleted, the lack of water contributing to the rise in such contaminants like arsenic and nitrates.

Climate change is also exacerbating the damage caused by over development, which alone heavily contributes to water supply depletion and rising pollutant levels, a problem RHA has been concerned about for some time.


For these reasons, both Kristi MacDonald, RHA Director of Science, and RHA Bill Kibler, RHA Director of Policy, agree the state needs to raise the bar when monitoring water quality as well as quantity.

MacDonald calls the latest results “disturbing. Arsenic and nitrates are creeping up. It’s likely regulations protecting water quality need to be strengthened.”

Kibler says he’s “appalled but not shocked by the results. It’s been evident to the state they have issues in some areas, but they’re ignoring it,” says Kibler. “It’s become recently clear to the DEP that arsenic is more widespread and serious geographically, and our data suggests the problem is getting worse.”

The State of Our Watershed conference is free and open to the public.

Those who pre-register online and attend the conference will also have the opportunity to win a 9-foot Emotion Spitfire 9 sit-on-top kayak donated by Ramsey Outdoors.

To register, click here.

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