Read the full article by Jon Hurdle (NJ Spotlight)

“The head of New Jersey’s drinking water watchdog said Thursday that industry should be required to take responsibility for any contamination of air and water that’s linked to its operations.

Dr. Keith Cooper, chairman of the Drinking Water Quality Institute, said existing regulations have not done enough to prevent pollution by industry, and they may now need to be strengthened so that corporations do more to ensure contaminants do not escape their plants.

‘If you can instill within the industries themselves that if they are required to maintain their chemical footprint within their own industry, within their controlled environment, then you will have their responsibility for maintaining that,’ Cooper said during a public meeting of the panel of scientists and water company executives that advises the state Department of Environmental Protection on safe levels of certain chemicals in drinking water.

‘But unfortunately, historically, we have not put that requirement,’ he said, offering his personal opinion. ‘We have allowed the chemicals to escape off of sites either through gas or the utilization of wastewater treatment plants, and I think that in the future, we have to start looking at putting the onus back on industry.’

Environmental regulators are faced with a need to set health standards for a range of chemicals, some of which were listed by the water quality panel on Thursday for possible investigation. They include cyanotoxins, which have led to harmful algal blooms (HABs) at many New Jersey lakes over the last two summers, and radon, which is linked to cancer.

The list also includes replacements for the toxic PFAS (Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl substances) family, also known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t break down in the environment even after their use or manufacture has ended…”