VTSD to start treating water supply

Vernon. The Vernon Township School District, after receiving all necessary approvals, is ready to inject the orthophosphate treatment into the water systems at the Lounsberry Hollow and Rolling Hills schools to control the traces of lead in the district's drinking water.

17 Feb 2020 | 04:53

The Vernon Township School District expects to start orthophosphate treatment to the pipes at Lounsberry Hollow and Rolling Hills schools on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

The orthophosphate chemical is designed to control lead in the pipes.

Business Administrator said it is better to start the process while school is in session so the chemical will be circulated through the system more effectively.

Mike Furrey, the owner of Agra Environmental and Lab Services, told the school board on Thursday, Feb. 13, said the process took several months, having to go through a Department of Environmental Protection Process, but the state did approve what the district recommended.

DEP also recommended the district work with the Sussex County Health Dept. Both the county and state recommended the district also use a sodium hypo chloride disinfection system to kill any bacteria in the water.

Furrey said the orthophosphate chemical is safe, pointing out there is a higher concentration of phosphoric acid in a can of soda than a water system.

“It is safe,” he said. “It is state and NJ DEP approved.”

Furrey said it will take 1 or 2 months for the orthophosphate to coat all the pipes and then a follow up will be done to make sure the treatment is working.

"Once this system is up and running, we test it at trace amounts to show that there is a trace of the orthophosphate and a trace of the hypo chloride,” Business administrator Steve Kepnes said. “That way we know it's in the water and it's doing its thing."

The state mandates districts test its drinking outlets every three years. Kepnes said the Vernon Township School District tests the water every break and in the summer.

"It was a pretty successful program,” Furrey said. “It was a pilot program for one of the schools. it doesn't stop you from doing this same project in other schools."