What’s in Your Water?

The Mount Olive Township Environmental Commission and Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA) are sponsoring reduced-cost well water testing for Mount Olive residents.  


If your household water comes from a private well, it is not tested by any state or local authority.  You are responsible for the quality of your well water. Mount Olive residents may have their well water tested for coliform bacteria and nitrates for $60. Test kits for other contaminants, such as lead, arsenic and radon, are available for additional cost. Each test kit comes with easy-to-follow instructions and all required containers.  


Test kits may be purchased on Sat. May 18, between 9 a.m. and noon at the Mount Olive municipal building cafeteria. Payment by check is preferred.  


The water samples must be dropped off at the municipal building on Mon. May 20, between 7 and 10 a.m.  Raritan Headwaters will ensure that all samples reach a state-certified laboratory later that day for testing.  Test results are communicated directly to the residents. If pollutants are detected, RHA will provide information to help well owners address the problems and make their water safe for consumption.  


Nationally, nearly half of all people get their water from groundwater sources.  Approximately 80 percent of people living in the Raritan Headwaters region rely on groundwater. The EPA and NJ DEP both recommend that private wells be tested annually for coliform and nitrates.


Both human-caused and naturally occurring contaminants are often found in private wells.  Nitrates and bacteria, which can lead to immediate and serious health conditions, may be found in well water as a result of a poorly performing septic system or a nearby agricultural source.  


Two naturally occurring elements, arsenic and radon, are also commonly found in well water in northwestern New Jersey.  Scientific studies associate long-term exposure to arsenic and radon with cancer and other health effects. Lead may be present in drinking water if there is lead-based solder in pipes or lead components in well pumps. The lead is leached by corrosive water and can cause physical or mental development problems in infants and children.


For more information, please contact Mara Tippett, RHA’s well test manager, at 908-234-1852, ext. 401 or welltesting@raritanheadwaters.org.  Visit the RHA website for demonstrations of proper well water sampling techniques at www.raritanheadwaters.org.


About Raritan Headwaters

Based in Bedminster, Raritan Headwaters has been working since 1959 to protect, preserve and improve water quality and other natural resources of the Raritan River headwaters region through efforts in science, education, advocacy, land preservation and stewardship. RHA’s 470-square-mile region provides clean drinking water to 300,000 residents of 38 municipalities in Somerset, Hunterdon and Morris counties and beyond to some 1.5 million homes and businesses in New Jersey’s densely populated urban areas.

Raritan Headwaters recently was accredited by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission, meaning it has been recognized as a strong and effective organization committed to professional excellence and maintaining the public’s trust.

To learn more about Raritan Headwaters and its programs, please visit www.raritanheadwaters.org or call 908-234-1852.

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