Important Information About Your Drinking Water (Updated March 2024)

City of Salem Water System Had Levels of Perfluorononanoic Acid (PFNA) Above A Drinking Water Standard

Our water system recently violated a New Jersey drinking water standard, and as our customers, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we are doing to correct this situation.

You were previously notified of the PFNA maximum contaminant level (MCL) violation in a public notice(s) issued on 6/27/2022, 9/27/2022, 1/9/2023, 3/8/2023, 6/7/2023, 9/8/2023 and 12/8/2023. Per the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, we will continue to provide you with an updated public notice every 3 months until we complete all approved remedial measures and return to compliance with the MCL.

We routinely monitor for the presence of federal and state regulated drinking water contaminants. New Jersey adopted a standard, or maximum contaminant level (MCL), for PFNA in 2018 and monitoring began for City of Salem Water System in 2021. The MCL for PFNA is 0.013 micrograms per liter (µg/L) and is based on a running annual average (RAA), in which the four most recent quarters of monitoring data are averaged. On 10/7/2022, we received notice that the samples collected on 9/19/2022 showed that our system exceeded the PFNA MCL RAA at treatment plant TP002009. The RAA for PFNA based on samples collected over the last year for the 1st quarter of 2024 is 0.0039 µg/L.

It should be noted on 1/2/2024 a sample was collected, and the result was 0.0035 µg/L. Thus, the RAA for PFNA based on this 1st quarter sample is 0.0039 µg/L. The good news is that as of the date of this notice, the quarterly PFNA levels are under the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 0.013 µg/L.

What is PFNA?

Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) is a member of the group of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), that are man-made and used in industrial and commercial applications. PFNA has been historically used as a processing aid in the manufacturing of high-performance plastics that are resistant to harsh chemicals and high temperatures. Major sources of PFNA in drinking water include discharge from industrial facilities where it was made or used. Although the use of PFNA has decreased substantially, contamination is expected to continue indefinitely because it is extremely persistent in the environment and is soluble and mobile in water.

What does this mean?

*People who drink water containing PFNA in excess of the MCL over time could experience problems with their liver; kidney; immune system; or, in males, reproductive system. For females, drinking water containing PFNA in excess of the MCL over time may cause developmental delays in a fetus and/or an infant.

* For specific health information see https://www.nj.gov/health/ceohs/documents/pfas_drinking%20water.pdf.

What should I do?

  • Anyone concerned about their health should consult with their personal healthcare provider.
  • The New Jersey Department of Health advises that infant formula and other beverages for infants, such as plain water or juice, should be prepared with bottled water when PFNA is elevated in drinking water.
  • Pregnant, nursing, and women considering having children may choose to use bottled water for drinking and cooking to reduce exposure to PFNA.
  • Other people may also choose to use bottled water for drinking and cooking to reduce exposure to PFNA.
  • Although there are no home filters that are National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International certified to remove PFNA, available home water filters have been tested to remove the closely related chemical Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and may also reduce exposure to PFNA. If a water treatment device is used, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance and operation. (NSF does not certify reduction of PFOA to the NJ MCL for PFOA.)
  • Boiling your water will not remove PFNA.

For more information, see https://www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/pfas/.

What is being done?

The City of Salem has hired Remington and Vernick Engineers to address the high levels of PFNA in the finished water. It is the intent to provide treatment to remove the PFNA from the water being delivered to the residents of the City of Salem. Salem has shut down the Well which has the high levels of PFNA and it will remain shut down until a treatment system is in place. The current water supply is from the remaining existing wells as well as the use of a new well.  The City of Salem is no longer providing water above the New Jersey PFNA drinking water standard. The time frame for the new treatment being online is August 2024.

For more information, please contact the Salem Water Department Main Office, at (856) 935-0350 or email or mail us at City of Salem Water Dept., 17 New Marker Street, Salem NJ 08079.  Please visit our website at www.cityofsalemnj.gov for more information about PFNA.

Copies regarding additional information on PFNA will also be available in the City Hall Annex at 17 New Market Street, Salem.

*Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail. *

This notice is being sent to you by City of Salem Water Department. State Water System ID# NJ1712001.

Date distributed: March 8, 2024