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Residents of New Jersey get their drinking water from two principal sources—it either comes from a reservoir or from underground wells. Drinking water quality varies significantly depending on where you live and what your source of drinking water is. Drinking water supplies can be contaminated directly by environmental releases in the area of the drinking water supply sources. Drinking water supplies can also be contaminated indirectly, for example, by dirty stormwater runoff, industrial wastewater runoff, agricultural runoff, or migration of contaminated groundwater, among other ways.
Many drinking water supplies in New Jersey have been contaminated with chemicals such as petroleum, gasoline, oil, MTBE, benzene, lead, TCE, PCE, phenols, various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals. Exposure to these and other toxic substances, at high enough levels and for long enough durations, may pose health risks to individuals who consume, bathe in, or breathe vapors from contaminated water.
In addition, many individuals and communities in New Jersey have had their drinking water affected by agricultural runoffs, such as pesticides, fecal matter, and bacteria, among other substances. Exposure to bacteria or pesticide contaminated drinking water can be very serious, depending on the levels and duration of the exposure. New Jersey residents have also been faced with drinking water contamination from industrial sources, including stormwater runoff and wastewater discharges that end up in drinking water supplies. The chemicals used in industrial applications vary greatly, as does the composition of runoff and discharge from plant operations. For, example, used process water laden with solvents or heavy metals can sometimes seep into groundwater or drinking water supplies.
Exposure to contaminated drinking water may result in a variety of illnesses to those exposed, including serious neurological impairment or cancer. The health problems that could be triggered by exposure to dirty drinking water often depend on the chemicals or toxic substances that have contaminated the water. Exposure to petroleum, gasoline, oil, MTBE, benzene, lead, TCE, PCE, phenols, pesticides, bacteria, various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals may have different effects depending on the nature and extent of the exposure. Exposure to these and other toxic substances, at high enough levels and for long enough durations, may pose health risks to individuals who consume, bathe in, or breathe vapors from contaminated water. These problems can range from intestinal disorders and respiratory ailments all the way to neurological disorders and some cancers.
The environmental lawyers at Lieberman & Blecher have long fought for people and communities in New Jersey, believing that there exists a right to clean drinking water free of contamination. Our environmental lawyers and litigators have fought against the idea that it is acceptable for drinking water to remain contaminated. When New Jersey residents and workers retain our firm to investigate their concerns about contaminated drinking water, we help to ensure that their water is cleaned up as soon as possible, and that they are compensated for the exposure that has or may cause them harm, that has impacted their property, or has degraded their quality of life.
Because water is such a vital resource to health and everyday functioning, drinking water contamination requires immediate action. As soon as contaminated drinking water is identified, alternative water supplies must be tapped, or steps must be taken to clean the existing contaminated supply. People and communities who believe that they have been or are being exposed to contaminated drinking water often choose to rely on bottled water for drinking until such time as their water supply has been cleaned or replaced. While resort to bottled water will not solve the entirety of the problem, it could be an important first step to protecting the health of those exposed.
Residents, workers, and communities in New Jersey with drinking water that has been contaminated often need legal representation to ensure that their rights are protected and that they are compensated for any harm that has been imposed. Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary and appropriate to file lawsuits under state law, federal law, or common law against those responsible for the contamination of the drinking water supply at issue. In addition, those organizations or companies that provide or sell dirty drinking water may also have legal exposure.
The environmental lawyers at Lieberman & Blecher have represented many individuals and communities that have been exposed to contaminated drinking water. Our environmental lawyers have litigated these cases for over a decade, and have substantial knowledge of the environmental, scientific and legal issues involved in bringing a successful contaminated drinking water lawsuit. The team of toxic exposure litigators at Lieberman & Blecher has experience with various types of environmental contaminants and with drinking water contamination more broadly. If you have concerns about dirty drinking water, we can help.