Important Information About Your Drinking Water

September 26, 2022

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

As you know, in the second quarter of 2022 our water system 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 have done and are continuing to do to correct this situation.

“Contact Cindy Edwards at (856) 935-0350 or for questions or to obtain a translated copy of this public notice.”

You were previously notified of the PFNA maximum contaminant level (MCL) violation in a public notice(s) issued on 6/27/2022 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 MCL, for PFNA in 2018 and monitoring began for City of Salem Water System in 2021. The MCL for PFNA is 0.013 parts per billion (ppb) (or 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 6/3/2022, we received notice that the sample collected on 5/11/2022 showed that our system exceeds the PFNA MCL at TP002009. The RAA for PFNA based on samples collected over the last year is 0.014 ppb.

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
  • 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?

Salem City was in the process of completing the permitting and construction of Well #9 prior to violating the PFNA standard at its water treatment plant, specifically, TP002009. Under an Emergency Use Permit, NJDEP approved the use of Well #9 to serve TP003012. Well #9 was placed into service on August 11, 2022. One of the wells serving TP002009 (Well #2) went offline on August 12, 2022, and will remain offline until treatment is in operation. However, TP002009 remains online with other wells serving the City.

The City of Salem has hired Remington and Vernick Engineers to address the high levels of PFNA in the finished water. It is our intent to provide treatment to remove the PFNA from the water being delivered to the residents of the City of Salem. We anticipate resolving the problem by June 2023. Testing is done on a quarterly basis; the sample drawn on 5/11/2022 was the first time the running annual average was above the standard. Third quarter 2022 sampling was performed on September 9, 2022 and results are pending.

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 of this Notice as well as other information regarding 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 PWSID# NJ1712001.

Date distributed: 9/27/2022