The following posting on is being posted here with permission from the author, Brian T. Lynch, MSW.

I read with concern the Roxbury TAP news article about six private wells on Nalron Drive that tested positive for high amounts of PFAS chemicals. The private wells were tested when homeowners were in the process of selling their homes, as the state requires. Such a cluster of wells testing positive for these substances has alarmed residents in that area and raised the fear that the Fenimore Landfill might be the source of contamination. DEP testing and monitoring will be needed to confirm or eliminate that concern. In the meantime, what are homeowners to do?

I sent a copy of the news article to the Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA). They have a long-established well-testing program and expertise in assessing water quality. Mara Tippett, Associate Director at RHA, and Samantha LaRocca, Well Test Program Manager, both responded. Tippett told me it is important for the affected homeowners to contact the NJ Spill Compensation Fund Claims Program (Spill Fund) before the final sale of their home. If a Spill Fund applicant meets the program’s requirements, the fund will reimburse them for the remediation costs to make their well water safe to drink. The applicant must be the current homeowner or the seller if the house is under a contract for sale. The buyer, having received a copy of the well test results during the sale, would be legally ineligible for Spill Fund compensation after purchase.

Have the affected residents been advised about this unique New Jersey program? I suspect the Roxbury Health Department already provided affected families with this information.

And what about homeowners with private wells who live near Nalron Drive, those who aren’t selling their homes? They may be wondering whether to test their wells for PFAS or other more common pollutants. It would be useful for them to know about the NJ Spill Fund should their wells test positive for contaminants.

The Raritan Headwaters Association is a non-profit environmental organization. Among the many things it does, it partners with local municipalities throughout the Raritan River watershed to offer residents an opportunity to test their well water at reasonable rates. RHA also conducts community well-testing events as a part of its community education and outreach services. In addition to the usual well water tests, the RHA can now test for PFAS chemicals.

Given the circumstances in Roxbury, Tippett and LaRocca are offering to schedule a Community Well-testing Event in either Roxbury, Mine Hill, or Randolph if there is an interest. Test kits are available at these events. Individual testing results are always confidential, but because RHA is an environmental organization, it maintains a database of aggregated test results so that communities can be informed about the overall quality of groundwater in their aquifers. This would seem particularly important in this case. Contact your health department or town administrator if you would like your town to schedule a Community Well-testing event.

Individual homeowners can also contact RHA directly for information about well testing. Call the well testing office at 908-234-1852 ext. 401 to request a well test kit or to get more information.If you know anyone in Roxbury, Randolph, or Mine Hill with a private well who might benefit from the information posted here, please forward this information to them. Feel free to contact me with questions or comments.

From the RHA Website:

Eighty percent of the households in our region depend upon private wells for drinking water. The US Environmental Protection Agency recommends that household water be tested once a year to ensure the well is free from harmful bacteria and nitrates. Testing can be expensive, but RHA has established a program that provides residents of the Raritan Headwaters region water tests by a state-certified lab at reasonable rates. Information is not shared with any party other than the homeowner and results data can be used to assess groundwater quality in our area. Local Health Departments, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Center for Disease Control all recommend that private well owners test their drinking water annually for bacteria, nitrates, and any other contaminants that are known to be of local concern. “Like annual preventative health screenings, an annual well test for bacteria and nitrates is an important part of maintaining good health.” -Mara Tippett, Associate Director, RHA

Brian T. Lynch, MSW