Cranberry Lake oil leak: All's well that ends well n for now

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    BYRAM-His house sits at the end of a dead end, neighbored by a few other homes on Wo-Ta-Ga Trail in Byram. Walter Evans lives there by himself, and for more than four days this past week, it was probably just as well. Evans, along with 30 other homes in the Cranberry Lake section of the township, was without the use of water for drinking, cooking and washing after oil discharged from a nearby residential tank and contaminated a community well. "It stinks," said Evans, after potable water had been restored after a dry spell beginning Tuesday and ending Sunday afternoon the past week. "Your hair feels like it's crawling around your head." Evans said he had to brush his teeth using water out of a jug. He's done it before, he said, because water service is often off-limits in his section of the lake community more than he cares to remember. "Every once in a while, the water acts up," said Evans, a 32-year township resident. "We're all used to it. We take it in stride. It's usually cold weather so we don't smell." Byram Mayor Eskil "Skip" Danielson said the homes without water were hooked up to a portable tanker early Saturday to allow for non-potable use including flushing of toilets and showering. It wasn't until later the next day that complete use had been restored. "They may have problems with the water company, but it's not a municipal service," said Danielson. "So, the township doesn't become aware of it." About 30 homeowners share a well provided by the North Shore Water Association adjacent to a home on Allamuchy Trail where last week approximately 50-100 gallons of oil spilled out of a 275-gallon tank. The well is a source of some 3,500 gallons of water per day for community residents. A representative of the North Shore Water Association declined comment on the shutdown. The state Department of Environmental Protection is investigating the leak. Danielson credited township manager Greg Poff, who called a meeting of DEP, residents, and county and local officials soon after the leak was discovered for bringing a quick solution to the problem. "I believe the residents were happy with the resources that came to their aid," said Danielson. "When water is out for whatever reason, you have to do whatever you can to get it back on line as quickly as possible."