New State Regulations Force Closure Of Colonial Park Well

Colonial Park well2

This note was posted on a public access well at Colonial Park.


New state regulations banning the use of underground wells as public water sources are forcing the closure of a long-used well in Colonial Park.

The well, located in Parking Lot F, near the bocce courts off Mettlers Road, has been used for decades by township residents as the source for their drinking water.

But regulations adopted about a year ago by the state Department of Environmental Protection now require all wells used as public water sources be above ground, said Brian Mundhenk, the Somerset County Parks Department’s principal parks engineer.

As a result, the well will be closed on Dec. 1.

“The well in its current configuration doesn’t meet with DEP’s requirements for a public water supply,” Mundhenk 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 said.

Mundhenk said there’s “really no good way” to bring the well into compliance.

“It would involve a new well being drilled, then there would have to be a heated building to house the well equipment,” he said.

Mundhenk said there are other wells in county parks that do comply with the regulations, but none of them are open to the public.

“The park system wouldn’t create a location for the public to come and get well water, but at Colonial Park that had been in existence for a while, so there was no reason to take that out,” he said.

The park will switch over to a water main owned by New Jersey American Water, Mundhenk said.

Residents who have used the well are upset about the change.

Resident Andrew Dars estimated that he will now have to spend about $600 a year on bottled water.

“I can’t even imagine the hardship this will place on the many other Somerset County residents that live on very fixed incomes and (rely) heavily on the the well because A, it tastes better then their tap water and B, financially, many just can’t afford the $15 average cost per five-gallon jug to buy at the market or have it delivered from the big business water companies,” Dars said in an email.

Another resident, posting on Facebook, said her family has been using the well for 30 years, adding that it was not uncommon to see a line form at the spigot.

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