<span style="font-style: italic">Issued without comment by New Jersey environmental officials, it shows that more than 12 percent of over 51,000 residential wells sampled failed to meet drinking water standards.
This means that people drinking from those 6,120 wells are drinking polluted water.
Found in 2,209 wells, the most frequent violation was radioactive contamination, called in the report "gross alpha particle activity."
Water in New Jersey's private wells tests too high for radioactivity, arsenic and other contaminants. (Photo by Ray Rocket Creasey)
The term "gross alpha" does not refer to a specific contaminant, but to a group of radioactive elements found in drinking water. Data on gross alpha particle radioactivity in New Jersey private wells are included and evaluated in this report for the first time, the report states.
<span style="font-weight: bold">The next most common violations found through sampling were high levels of arsenic, found in 1,445 wells; </span> nitrates, found in1,399 wells; fecal coliform or E. coli, found in 1,136 wells; volatile organic compounds, found in 702 wells; and mercury, found in 215 wells.
These figures do not count the contamination from lead, found in more than 5,200 wells, because the state Department of Environmental Protection considered the sampling results to be "questionable" in part due to "unrealistically high concentrations of lead."