Posted Monday, October 28th, 2019
(Statement from Southeast Morris County MUA)
The Southeast Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority (SMCMUA) is issuing this statement to provide additional information on Chromium 6 (hexavalent chromium) as reported by the Patch on 10/23/19 based on information provided by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
The report provides misleading results that implies that our drinking water is not in compliance with established and enforceable regulatory standards. SMCMUA is in compliance with enforceable standards regarding chromium along with all other primary contaminants regulated by the federal and state governments.
Chromium is an odorless and tasteless metallic element found naturally in rocks, plants, soil, volcanic dust and animals. The most common forms are Chromium-3 and Chromium-6. Chromium-3 is an essential human dietary element. Chromium-6 occurs naturally but can also be produced by industrial processes.
The current EPA Total Chromium standard is based on allergic dermatitis (skin reactions). EPA is currently revaluating Chromium-6 through its Integrated Risk Information System, a process that characterizes the potential health risks based on available science. EPA completed a national assessment of the occurrence of both Total Chromium and Chromium-6 as part of the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 3 (UCMR3).
Chromium-6 is not regulated by EPA or NJDEP and the referenced EWG health guideline is not an enforceable drinking water standard. However, in 1991 the EPA did establish an enforceable maximum contaminant level (MCL) for Total Chromium, where the Total Chromium measurement represents the concentration of both Chromium-6 and Chromium-3 (trivalent chromium).
SMCMUA monitors all sources for Total Chromium on an annual basis in accordance with the regulations and maintains compliance with the standard.1 In 2015, SMCMUA completed a one-year monitoring program for both Total Chromium and Chromium-6 as required by EPA as part of UCMR3.2
The health guideline that EWG referenced is a non-enforceable public health goal (PHG) established by the State of California in 2011. In California, the PHG is developed as a step in the process of developing an enforceable standard for drinking water. The final standard is based on several factors including health effects and technical and economic feasibility. The final MCL is then set as close to the PHG as possible.
In 2014, California did develop a regulatory standard, or MCL, for Chromium-6 about 500 times that of the PHG. 3 However, subsequently in 2017, the MCL was invalidated by the Superior Court of Sacramento, where the State Water Board was found to have failed to properly consider the economic feasibility of complying with the MCL setting regulatory process.
The Authority is committed to providing superior quality water that exceeds the standards established by EPA and the NJDEP. We encourage members of our community to contact us directly and to visit our website for additional information on our water quality, including our annual consumer confidence reports.
SMCMUA provides drinking water to approximately 62,000 consumers in Morris County, in Morristown, Morris Township, Hanover, and Morris Plains.
If you are considering purchasing a water filter or other home treatment device, we encourage you to make a fully informed decision.
1 SMCMUA samples all sources on an annual basis for Total Chromium. All data collected by the Authority, for the past ten (10) years indicate no value greater than 7 ppb, or 7% of EPA’s MCL, for all sources monitored for Total Chromium.
2 The highest detection observed for the UCMR3 monitoring event for Total Chromium was 1.2 ppb, or 1.2% of the EPA MCL, and the highest detection for Chromium-6 was 0.72 ppb.
3 In 2014, California established a MCL of 10 ppb for Chromium-6 which was later invalidated. All measurements made by SMCMUA, as described above, for either Total Chromium or Chromium-6 have been below the California MCL for Chromium-6.
CONTACT CUSTOMER SERVICE: Consumers should direct questions or concerns to our Customer Service Division at 973-326-6880 or [email protected].