Mar 14, 2001

Measure Requires Testing Private Wells

Current legislation is in the works of being passed that would require the testing of private wells for drinking water prior to the sale of the property.

Wells would be tested for things such as radium, arsenic and other pollutants. These tests currently are required for public drinking water supplies as well as required for sales involving government-backed mortgages

With this legislation being well received, other property sales in New Jersey also are being considered for the same standard. Homeowners already are required to report potential hazards including such things as radon and termites, so supporters of this legislation believe reporting well water status is a natural step.

The bill would force buyers and sellers to negotiate who would pay if well cleanups were necessary.

Roughly one million New Jerseyans rely on water from private wells. Tests on wells in the upper part of the county have found elevated levels of radium and MTBE, a gasoline additive. Both substances have been linked to increased cancer levels, reports the Bergen Record.

The bill now awaits the signature of acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco, who in his other role as Senate president has been pushing the legislation as part of a package of water-pollution measures. The Private Well Testing Act also includes $1 million to create a database on the water quality of wells statewide. Results from all well tests would be plugged into the database to get a better picture of regional water quality.