DEP: We Had Nothing To Do With Colonial Park Wells Shutdown, Decision Made By County Health Department

Colonial Park well3

One of the wells in Colonial Park that is scheduled to be shut down on Dec. 1.

The planned closing of two wells in Colonial Park was not mandated by state environmental regulations, as asserted by a Somerset County official, a state spokesman said Nov. 19.

To the contrary, the decision to close the popular wells was an economic one made by the Somerset County Department of Health, according to state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Bob Considine.

“The Somerset County Health Department informs us the county is hooking up to public water as it has become too costly for upkeep and to make upgrades to the two wells at Colonial Park,” Considine said in an email. “The connection, as far as we’ve been told, is because it’s more cost effective to connect to public water – not related to new regulations.”

Somerset County is closing the two wells in Colonial Park and switching over to municipal water on Dec. 1. The wells – especially one located in Parking Lot F, near the bocce courts – have been used for decades by Franklin residents as drinking water sources.

Brian Mundhenk, the Somerset County Parks Department’s principal parks engineer, said on Nov. 17 that the reason the wells will be closed is that they no longer conform to DEP regulations on public water sources, which, he said, were modified about a year ago.

“The well in its current configuration doesn’t meet with DEP’s requirements for a public water supply,” Mundhenk has said. “The well and the equipment are below grade, and that’s no longer acceptable.”

“We have to make this change, or we will be in violation of DEP requirements before long,” he has said.

Mundhenk said there was “no good way” to bring the wells into compliance.

Wen asked about the new regulations, Considine said, “there haven’t been any new rules adopted in recent years.”

Considine also checked with the DEP’s land management division, he said, but that division has no rules on public source wells.

Neither Mundhenk nor Dr. Paul Masaba, Somerset County’s public health director, responded to requests for comment Nov. 19.

This is a developing story. Check back with the Franklin Reporter & Advocate for more details.



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