In a letter to the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. senators Bob Menendez, Corey Booker, and congressman Bill Pascrell are asking the agency to hold public meetings in Passaic County to explain the Long Term 2 Enhanced Water Treatment Rule (LT2) to residents.
“We believe that all parties—state, federal and local—can come together around a common sense strategy to protect public health in a cost effective manner,” read Friday’s letter to Judith Enck, the EPA’s regional administrator. The letter comes as opposition to the Passaic Valley Water Commission’s proposal to drain three reservoir, two in Woodland Park and one in Paterson reached a boiling point.
The commission wants to place large concrete containers at the three sites to implement the LT2 rule that mandates water reservoirs must be covered and protected to prevent pathogens from mixing into drinking water.
“To that end, before this plan advances any further, we would request that the Environmental Protection Agency come to Passaic County, meet with members of the community, and explain the LT2 rule and why its implementation is important for public health and the environmental protection of our communities,” further reads the letter.
Residents in both municipalities oppose the plan for its lack of consideration for the environment and potential rate hike that is likely to follow to completely fund the $135 million plan. Three weeks ago residents from both municipalities scolded the commission for its plan to drain the three scenic sites.
Paterson residents argued the plan to drain Levine Reservoir would ruin the historic Great Falls District.
“The aesthetic value of this landscape will forever be scarred if this project goes through,” Woodland Park mayor Keith Kazmark said three weeks ago about the New Street and Great Notch reservoir at the gathering of about 130 people at the Paterson Museum.
“EPA can and should work with the community and the water commission to develop a mutually acceptable implementation strategy to meet this federal mandate,” ends the letter.