Trenton Water Works Superintendent Joseph McIntyre and other city officials were blasted yesterday for keeping suburban leaders in the dark about not putting fluoride in the water since August.
“Their gross negligence disregarded the health concerns of hundreds of thousands of people. They put everybody in jeopardy,” said Rick Miller, a Lawrence council member.
“Trenton didn’t care about anybody, because if they had, there would have been a health alert for every home that receives water from their system. This gives us even more reason to drop Trenton as the main provider of water for Lawrence residents.”
Miller and other council members found out Tuesday that Trenton discontinued fluoride treatment on Aug. 20. McIntyre said supply problems, which initially were supposed to end in two months, have dragged on into this year and might not be resolved until May.
“The day that Trenton stopped putting fluoride in the water should have been the day that water officials sent a letter out to every customer to alert them about this. Parents, schools and dentists could have taken precautions,” Miller said.
Lawrence Township Council member Bob Bostock accused TWW of undermining health conditions.
“This is not information that you keep to yourself. You have to tell people what’s going on,” he said.
“We’re talking about something that started in August. No customers were told about this, and we would still be in the dark if not for the fact that the state looked into the matter.”
Trenton South Ward Councilman Jim Coston, who voted in support of the $80 million sell off of Trenton’s 460 miles of suburban water pipeline, fumed when he heard the news.
“Somebody should lose their job, either the person who could not find enough fluoride, or the person who thought it was a good idea not to inform the public about this,” Coston said.
“This sounds like another time when people did not do their job.”
Ewing Mayor Jack Ball proposed a legal intervention. “My first reaction is to get our attorneys involved,” he said. “I’m outraged because this is completely irresponsible. I think Trenton should have alerted every home that receives service by the Trenton Water Works. It should have protected our young people.”
Ball said that he instructed Ewing’s business administrator to update its Web site with information regarding the fluoride problem.
Miller the Lawrence councilman responded with a dispensation of information: “We notified our health department and all three other towns. We let all the pediatricians and dentists know about this so that they can contact patients, day care centers and all schools.”