Byram to disseminate contamination data via the Internet

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:49

    BYRAM-While state and local health officials continue to look for the source of a fuel additive that contaminated private wells in the East Brookwood section of Byram, the town is relying on its Web site,, to get out the latest information to area residents. At this week's township council meeting, Town Manager Greg Poff said his office is spearheading the effort to compile and post on the Web site a list of certified water testing companies that residents can contact to have their water analyzed. The town will contact the vendors to both familiarize them with the situation facing residents as well as get a list of prices. In addition, the site will provide links to the Department of Environmental Protection, where residents can get more information. Poff said at the meeting that he wants "to insure all residents are kept informed, to keep down the anxiety level." He plans to have the information on the website up and running "by week's end." The manager also asked for the residents' cooperation in reporting to his office the outcome of any testing done on private wells. Poff said it is vital residents contact the town with any feedback, even if their wells turn up negative results. "It's very important that residents get back any information so that we can get it to the state," said Poff, explaining that the information obtained privately by residents in the affected area is the only source the town currently has to trace the contaminants and understand the extend of the problem. An informal grassroots effort to spread information has also sprouted. Leanne Clark, who lives in the affected area, told the council she and her neighbors have been making sure that everyone in the area is contacting one another to share information. As part of this effort, she delivered a flier provided by the DEP containing relevant information to 106 mailboxes in the affected area. "The DEP has been very helpful. They want to get feedback and are communicating information. They have been right there," said Clark, adding that the DEP has also compiled the e-mail addresses of those affected so that it can update them regularly. Not everyone agrees that the new efforts to disseminate the information are enough. "We need more proactive communication," said Marie Venes, who urged the council to find a better way to notify residents. "We all know there are hazardous dumps all over this town and we need to have a way to find out what is going on." For those residents who do not have Internet access or are not computer savvy, information will also be distributed in the township's quarterly newsletter. Residents looking for information more immediately should contact the town manager's office directly at 973-347-2500.