At the Nov 8 Perth Amboy City Council meeting , a resident asked about if there are plans to improve the Perth Amboy drinking water quality. Questions were asked about if water filters could be purchased and made available to the public that could improve the drinking water quality and protect public health. Improving drinking water quality for city residents could be paid for by the $16 million in American Rescue Plan funds the city was allocated. Residents have said at many Council Meetings that they do not want to pay more for the poor quality water and do not want to invest in the water system unless it is to improve the water quality. Recently, the city wanted to take out millions in bonds for new water meters, not water quality improvement.
The Environmental Working Group, EWG, published their 2021 Tap Water Database, a searchable database by zip code, that gives residents the ability to see what is in their drinking water. The database looks through state water records and shows if there are any pollutants found or violations of drinking water standards. When you type in Perth Amboy’s zip code 08861, it takes you to the reports.
The report said that in the 3 year compliance history report, the Perth Amboy Water Utility spent 2 quarters in significant violation of federal drinking water standards. It said that from January 2021 – March 2021), tap water provided was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards. It provides detail of reports of Perth Amboy water utility.
In NJ drinking water quality standards have become among the strictest in the country, more than EPA water quality standards, in order to protect public health. In NJ “public utilities and owners of private water wells must ensure that drinking water contains no more than 14 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 13 ppt for PFOS, two of the strictest standards among states that have regulated the cancer causing chemicals, and far stronger than the 70 ppt advisory guideline set by the U.S. EPA, a level that advocates say is much too lax to protect public health. New Jersey is one of seven states that have enforceable regulation drinking water standards for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
In Perth Amboy, EWG, an advocate for high quality drinking water, reported contaminants are in our drinking water that they do not consider healthy and recommended filters.
Currently, 6 towns in the Perth Amboy area are considering a class action law suit against their water utility for violation of significant violation of NJ enforceable drinking water standards for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
Adopt a catch basin in your neighborhood. By helping to keeping catch basins free from leaves and garbage and debris, you can help protect our water and help to prevent local flooding, especially in these times of extreme weather due to climate change. Since super soaker rainfall events like IDA are more common, let’s do our part to adopt catch basins and keep them clean to help care for our sewer infrastructure.
There are opportunities to create 4 catch basin murals on adopted catch basins to help raise awareness about keeping them clean. We are looking for residents or groups to adopt catch basins, and muralists will be assigned to paint a mural on them to help raise awareness about storm water infrastructure. This particular catch basin at the corner of Water and Lewis St is at a location that needs to be maintained, as it is a place where heavy rainfall can cause local flooding. The DPW and Green Team will be mapping high risk catch basins for the City to monitor. If you know of a catch basin in your neighborhood where local flooding occurs, let us know the address and take a picture.
Walk around your neighborhood and look to see if there are any catch basins you notice that need to be maintained. Take a photo, and write down the address or street intersection. Then, contact us with the info, and we can decide if we want to do a mural there and what it would be.
Perth Amboy Artworks has money for 4 catch basin murals to pilot the Catch Basin Mural Program. We will send the catch basin info to the DPW and to the Green Team, as this city department and board works on ways to address climate change. We will also collaborate with the Perth Amboy Arts Council on the catch basin murals.
The Perth Amboy Marina has two available fixed food vending spots, but no one is serving food there. Perth Amboy residents asked why there are no vendors at the popular Marina destination. Food vendors who have in the past located at the Marina have always had great business, with the steady stream of visitors and residents parking at the Marina. In the past, Slavkos Food Truck was a popular food truck at the Marina, and since he left, there has not been a new food vendor at the Marina to take his place.
Residents did not want fixed vending on Water St, because of the parking crisis on that street and vehicles constantly parking in emergency spaces and in front of the fire hydrant, among other issues. While vendors have been at the Water St location before, selling empanadas and ice cream for a few hours, no fixed vendor had been there in 20 years. The Council voted unanimously to remove the fixed peddlers permit at the Water St location.
At the City Council Meeting, residents discussed there opposition to designating lots on the waterfront as municipal lots, with the intent to turn those lots into metered parking.
Residents said that there is a current parking crisis on the waterfront. The parking crisis has been presented at council meetings many times over the years, with the city not addressing the problems. Residents asked for an impact study to be done to assess what would be the impact of metered parking on residents,- on the current parking crisis they experience, on their quality of life and their finances. Residents also suggested resident parking permits, to help address the parking crisis.
Council President Petrick said not everyone lives at the waterfront, so it will impact Perth Amboy residents having to pay for parking. Increasing expenses to residents during the time of hardship during the pandemic isn’t a good choice.
Councilman Pabon said, we have to do this, we need money to invest in the maintaining the lots.
Councilman Torres suggested that the city could be making plans to make money and finance infrastructure improvements by embracing cannabis businesses, which would bring in money to the city instead of increasing costs to residents. Woodbridge, New Brunswick, Carteret, Edison, Highland Park and South River all have plans to make money for their cities with legal cannabis. In addition, Perth Amboy would get more money from the state for improvements through the social justice provisions that provide a portion of the state sales tax revenue to cities that were the most impacted by the war on drugs.