If the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection classified contaminated ground water caused by historic industrial activity as nonpotable, cleanup costs would be reduced and redevelopment woud be encouraged in areas where infrastructure already exists. The DEP has thus far sidelined groundwater reclassification, but there is hope that a program will be put into action in the near future.

The DEP classifies contaminated aquifers as potable, even though many have never been used for drinking water and never will be used for drinking water in the foreseeable future. The misclassification of contaminated aquifers is keeping many urban brownfields brown and encouraging redevelopment in the suburbs or, worse, other states.

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