PAULSBORO The hardware store that has been the one-stop shop for free bottled water for borough residents faced with water contamination will continue acting in that capacity, despite a near two-week lapse.
Weiss True Value Hardware manager Phil Weiss, who cited store demands in stopping the distribution earlier this month, said Monday that the store resumed the operation Friday with adjusted hours. Residents can now get water at the store from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (Previously, residents were able to go in at all store hours Monday through Saturday.)
Solvay Specialty Polymers also has included in the costs for the water additional funds to pay two workers to handle the water, Weiss said. Solvay, a West Deptford plastics company, is alleged to be responsible for releasing the unregulated perfluorinated compound (PFC) known as perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) into the area water.
Weiss previously said the distribution had become burdensome to the store, whose employees are tasked with their daily shop responsibilities as well. Solvay officials asked Weiss to reconsider, he said, in the absence of an established alternative.
With the two workers, he said, "it's much, much less of an impact on our day-to-day business." The store has distributed about 4,300 cases in the last three months, he said.
Solvay, which is facing several lawsuits by residents, maintains that it stopped using PFCs in 2010.
Several towns have shut down wells because of the presence of PFNA. Paulsboro, whose Well No. 7 had the highest levels, closed the well this month once two other wells were put back online after being upgraded to filter naturally occurring radium, a regulated contaminant. - Angelo Fichera