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Mapping of volatile organic chemicals in New Jersey water systems


To characterize volatile organic chemical (VOC) contamination in public water in New Jersey from 1978 through 1990, detailed GIS maps were developed, along with descriptive text and an associated contaminant database, broken into half-year periods. All water providers that served more than 500 service connections were mapped. Contamination status for nine VOCs, including total trihalomethanes (THMs), was estimated for about 90% of the state's population. Many water systems were partitioned into smaller subsystems in order to map service areas that were more homogeneous with regard to water quality in order to minimize exposure misclassification. Data used for this work included test results taken by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection or the water utilities (raw, plant, and distribution system samples), an analysis of probable water use and water flow (based on pumpage, population, system architecture, and advice from the water systems), and information on service area extensions during the period. Using GIS applications, these maps and databases were used to estimate the size of the population exposed to contaminants over time, demonstrating a dramatic decrease in exposed population after the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act was signed in 1984.

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Correspondence to PERRY COHN.

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COHN, P., SAVRIN, J. & FAGLIANO, J. Mapping of volatile organic chemicals in New Jersey water systems. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 9, 171–180 (1999).

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  • community water systems
  • geographic information system
  • New Jersey
  • volatile organic chemicals


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