December 20, 1987: Congressional Bill for Water Studies

December 20, 1987New York Times headline—Bill Provides Funds for Water Studies. “A $549 MILLION ground-water protection bill recently passed by the House would pay for two research projects designed to prevent the contamination of water supplies in New Jersey coastal areas with vulnerably sandy soil.

Underground drinking-water supplies near the Shore, from Hudson County to Delaware Bay, are especially susceptible to contamination from leaking gasoline tanks or leaching dump sites because of the porous nature of the soil.

The measure was sponsored by Representative Claudine Schneider, Democrat of Rhode Island. Under the legislation, which still must be voted on by the Senate and signed by President Reagan, two test cleanup programs would be conducted in the Jersey Shore area.

The tests involving New Jersey were added to the bill by Representative James J. Howard, Democrat of Spring Lake Heights, who heads the House Public Works and Transportation Committee. Of the two proposed tests, one, which would continue for 30 months, would study ways to inject specially treated water into aquifers contaminated by petroleum. Previous studies using the method showed promising results in reducing damage. The second study would be of the effects of acidic water on metal drinking-water pipes and plumbing.

‘Over the past decade,’ said Representative Dean A. Gallo, Republican of Parsippany, who voted for the bill, ‘it has become painfully apparent that ground-water protection has fallen through the regulatory cracks.’

Barker Hamill, chief of the Bureau of Safe Drinking Water of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, said that New Jersey had been consistently tracking the quality of drinking water since early 1985 and had found problems in some communities.”

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