On September 14, Raritan Headwaters co-sponsored a workshop with Columbia University and NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), “Informing Residents of the Health Effects of Arsenic in Drinking Water & the Need to Test and Treat Private Wells” at the Hunterdon County Library in Flemington.

Twenty-five representatives from municipalities where arsenic often exceeds New Jersey drinking water standards attended the event. Participants learned about the sources of arsenic in our wells, the areas where there is high arsenic in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, the health effects of exposure, and testing and treatment options as well as how municipalities can reach residents to inform them of the risks. Presenters included scientists from Raritan Headwaters, Columbia University, NJDEP and the Hunterdon County Division of Public Health Services. A common theme throughout the workshop was the importance of everyone testing their well for arsenic and a variety of other contaminants.

An online ARSENIC AWARENESS TOOLKIT was created as part of this workshop to provide downloadable pamphlets, videos, templates for press releases, information about the RHA Community Well Test Program (testmywell.org), and treatment options for communities to post on their websites and share with their residents.

Decision-makers and other local leaders in the watershed’s 38 municipalities are important partners in Raritan Headwaters’ mission of protecting water resources in the Upper Raritan but they are often volunteers with full time jobs in other fields. Through our Watershed Tools for Local Leaders seminar series, we are helping municipalities develop their own internal expertise on a variety of complicated issues by offering crash courses that provide expert-level knowledge in a succinct, practical workshop through interactive discussions, summary materials and hands-on planning activities on various topics presented by Raritan Headwaters scientists and policy experts, as well as visitors from regulatory agencies, universities, and other non-profits.

To learn about upcoming seminar topics, visit https://www.raritanheadwaters.org/municipal-tools.