By Richard J. LaRossa | May 8th, 2012 - 5:56am
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Poison Drinking Water in Keansburg, NJ

 

I received a press release about a council race in Keansburg, NJ which is to be held on May 8th, 2012. After reading some of the items in the release, I am appalled that no major news outlet has even touched in, least of all, The Asbury Park Press who covers most of the Jersey shore in the Monmouth County area.

I was totally shocked to find out that the recent installation of a desalinization plant has had a devastating effect on Keansburg‘s drinking water. According to testing from reliable sources, there are amounts of ARSNEC contamination in Keansburg’s water that are significantly above what is considered safe.

In a nutshell, the water from the desalinization plant is poisoning the residents of Keansburg and the current council that is up for re-election on May 8th has taken absolutely no action to warn the residents of Keansburg that their water has arsenic contamination. That is outrageous.

Opposing Keansburg council candidate Arne Henn demanded to know why the Borough has not warned the residents about the arsenic in their water supply.

What was supplied to Mr. Henn, was absolutely shocking.  According to the NJDEP Drinking Water Watch website, the State DEP notified Keansburg on April 11 that the water supply exceeded the acceptable average of arsenic levels.  The DEP also ordered the Borough to notify the public on that same day – but the current Council did nothing , and the residents are drinking water that is fundamentally poisoned. 

There are other things amiss in Keansburg.  According to documentation, Keansburg  has  a Borough Manger who is the former Police Chief who retired on a $120,000 pension and now makes another $185,000 as Borough Manager. 

That is one person in Keansburg who makes over $300,000 a year.  When is enough, enough?  Keansburg also has a police chief who also makes $185,000 and the deputy chief, who is the Chief’s brother, makes an additional $163,000.  All I can say is wow, can you spell nepotism?  I guess with all that money in salaries, they did not have enough money to print notices and send them out to warn the citizens of the danger with the drinking water.

Candidate Ida Soto also voiced her concern.  She stated that “Keansburg spent millions of dollars on a desalination system because the Council said the prior water quality was poor.”  It may have been poor, but it was not laced with arsenic.

Clearly, an issue of this magnitude, so close to an election had to be ignored by the incumbents, simply because of how Keansburg’s residents would react if they found out that the council bragged about their new system, but they totally ignored the fact that the water from the plan contained arsenic at poisonous levels.

Clearly, a problem of this magnitude is an embarrassment to the incumbents.  They do not want this it to be an issue in the election – I guess, they are more interested in winning an election than looking out for the well being and health of Keansburg’s residents.  I guess the residents just don’t matter.

Andrew Henn, also a Council candidate and father of two young children, is worried about the health risks.  “According to the federal EPA website, higher than acceptable levels of arsenic can cause skin damage, problems with the circulatory system and increase the risk of cancer,” Henn said. “This should be a concern for everyone, but especially for our children and senior citizens.”

This entire situation begs the question as to why the Borough Attorney, former State Senator John Bennett allowed them to violate DEP orders.  John Bennett,  makes over $100,000 a year as Borough Attorney and over $125,000 per year as the School Board Attorney and  yet he saw no reason for the Council to obey the DEP?  Whoa!  You would think that as the Board of Education attorney he would be concerned for Keansburg’s school children.

Arne Henn expressed outrage over the Borough Council’s inaction.  According to documentation, the Council knew about this almost two weeks ago, but instead of warning the public, they are telling people that the water is great and they should drink it.  Wait till the first child or senior gets ill from this water.  They will have an enormous law suit on their hands.

The big question is why did the Borough feel it was okay to ignore the DEP order? 

Andrew Henn, who is running with Ida Soto and his father, Arne Henn,  says this is just another example of how the Borough Council and Administrator operate in secrecy. Henn, Soto and Henn believe that they are performing a public service by bringing this to light.

 “The people have a right to know about any health hazard.  Certainly arsenic in the drinking water above acceptable levels is a health hazard.”  The worst part of all is that the incumbent council members, Anthony DePompa, Tom Foley and George Hoff  have totally ignored what is in the water the town is  drinking.  The Borough and it elected representatives chose to ignore DEP’s order, while their challengers, Andrew Henn, Ida Soto and Arne Henn have been screaming about it since they saw the report.  Why would incumbents ignore such a health hazard and simply leave it to their opponents to alert the community about the risk the water was posing?  Elected officials are supposed to look out for things that negatively impact their community, not ignore them.  The report of the violation can be found at:

https://www11.state.nj.us/DEP_WaterWatch_public...

https://www11.state.nj.us/DEP_WaterWatch_public...

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