Clean Air, Clean Water

Go Idle Free Verona

Did You Know? An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour! Vehicle exhaust causes allergies, cancer, asthma and bronchitis. Up to 25% of NJ school-aged children are asthmatic. Idling for more than 3 minutes is against the law in New Jersey! Please turn OFF your car wherever you’re parked and waiting. Ready, Set, STOP Your Engines! Please watch "Idle Free Verona" 2 minute video from the VEC. It is part of the commission's local campaign against unnecessary vehicle idling. The video was entirely shot and edited by VEC members. The commission would like to especially thank the H. B. Whitehorne Middle School Environmental Club and the kids from Verona for their participation and support. The Verona Environmental Commission won a 2012 Environmental Achievement Award from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) for this video and our clean air initiatives. ANJEC described the project as "a perfect example of the scope a commission can achieve with enthusiastic volunteers!". For full screen and HD resolution please click HERE. Turn the Key... Be Idle Free!
According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection "An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour". NJ State Law prohibits idling more than three minutes for both diesel and gasoline vehicles. Learn what Verona kids are doing to reduce air pollution and how you can help! For information please click HERE
Verona Public Library Exhibit: All posters submitted to the annual contest "Idle Free Verona" are on display every year at the Verona Public Library (17 Gould Street) in November. The posters are organized by participating school. The exhibit was held at the Children Department during regular library hours. Pictured below are (from left to right ) Librarians Bill Trafton and Catherine Adair Williams and Library Director Mary Torrey, and pictured left, Children's Librarian Cheryl Ashley at the exhibit with children. Congratulations to all participants for helping improve Verona's air quality!

Idle-Free Verona Stores

About a dozen Bloomfield Avenue businesses in Verona displayed on their store windows students' "Idle-Free" posters. For two weeks they shown their support to "2011 Walk to School Day" and cleaner air. Thank you AFG Framing, King's, Cleaners in that Mall, Carnevale's Car Service, Gemmel's Cleaners, Trend, JT Barber Shop, Verona Aluminum, Terry’s, C&J Trophies and Towne Scoop! If you are a store owner interested on displaying the children artwork please contact us.

In 2009, 2010 and 2011 all public elementary schools in Verona participated in the VEC's poster contest Idle Free Verona.  More than 100 posters were exhibited at the schools, Verona's Public Library and  Essex County Environmental Center. Parents and teachers, thank you for supporting this program too! Following two incidents in which four pedestrians (including two preschoolers) were killed and 17 struck by unattended idling vehicles in New York in 2009, idling fines raised and the Hayley and Diego’s law was created. Idling is considered a criminal offense. Idling Is Also Illegal in New Jersey. READ MORE

Air Quality at Verona Schools

How good is the air quality at Verona’s schools?

Good, but could be better, according to a new analysis of data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Matching EPA data for tracking toxic chemicals against 128,000 school locations across the country, USA Today has just produced a detailed report on how industrial pollution affects outside air at America’s schools. Most of the toxic chemicals in the EPA database have never been tested for their specific effect on children, who many experts believe are more at risk for health problems because they are growing and breathe more rapidly than adults.

According to USA Today’s analysis, Verona’s public schools rank in the 58th-60th percentiles of schools nationwide. You can read the full report here: “The Smokestack Effect: Toxic Air And America’s Schools” . For current air quality conditions go to AIRNow. Help to improve air quality at Verona’s schools by reducing your warm-up idling time to 30 seconds and turning your engine off if parked. Pictured is one of the street signs installed at Verona schools in September 2009.

We had a great time with the Sustainable Verona team, the Hilltop Conservancy and numerous volunteers at the Hilltop Reservation cleanup on November 19, 2016. Volunteers helped to clean up a new restoration site. This was a family friendly event and several children participated, including boy-scouts pictured here.

Verona Park Recycling 

Verona Park is now greener, thanks to Essex County officials having installed several recycling bins there. Now you can recycle paper, glass and plastic in the park. The Verona Park Conservancy organizes annual cleanups usually on April and the annual Hilltop Cleanup Day is organized by the Hilltop Conservancy.

Drink Verona's tap water with confidence

Verona produces 15 million gallons of water per month and has produced more than a billion gallons to date. Our Annual Water Quality Report and more than 1,000 water test show that we can drink our tap water with confidence. Enjoy Verona’s good quality municipal water. This is something we can all drink to!

An Australian town just banned bottled water, saving $2.5 million per year. In the U.S., first San Francisco banned it, then Chicago started taxing it and the city of Seattle signed an executive order to stop the city from buying it. It'll make a big difference; in 2007 that city spent $58,000 on the stuff (not including the carbon footprint of bottled water). The move is also a strong vote of confidence in the city's municipal tap water supply and treatment systems. It's good to see cities standing behind its tap water and encouraging its employees and residents to drink up. Many more are joining them.

Where does our water come from?
Currently Verona has cut in half the amount of water purchased from the Passaic Valley Water Commission since our hard water comes from local well usage. In the past the town had soft water when it relied on surface sources.

Why do we need an annual water report?
To comply with State regulations, the Town of Verona is issuing an Annual Water Quality Report describing the safety of your drinking water. The purpose of this report is to raise your understanding of drinking water and awareness of the need to protect our drinking water sources.

Are there contaminants in our drinking water?
According to the new data Verona residents can drink tap water with confidence. We conducted more than 1,000 water tests for several contaminants during 2008. All contaminants such as chlorine and fluoride were found well bellow the accepted levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

What about lead?
Laboratory Manager Tim Newton reported that our municipal water was also tested for copper and lead levels at 30 different sites, with such good results that tests can be performed every three years instead of annually.

Should I take any special precautions?
The report shows higher levels of sodium; there are no adverse side effects associated with it but those in a sodium-restricted diet should be cautious.

Why should we save water?
Although our system has an adequate amount of water to meet present and future demands, saving water saves energy and some of the costs associated with it.

Conservation tips include:

  • Automatic dishwashers use 15 gallons for every cycle, regardless of how many dishes are loaded. So load it to capacity.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. 
  • Check every faucet in your home for leaks. Just a slow drip can waste 15 to 20 gallons a day. Fix it up and you can save almost 6,000 gallons per year. 
  • Check your toilets for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank - watch for a few minutes to see if the color shows up in the bowl. It is not uncommon to lose up to 100 gallons a day from one of these otherwise invisible toilet leaks. Fix it and you save more than 30,000 gallons a year.

Drought Warning 
The Township of Verona released a drought warning in 2016 and strongly encouraged all residents to eliminate unnecessary water use and is offering a limited supply of toilet leak detection tablets at the Verona Community Center, 880 Bloomfield Ave. to help residents do their part to conserve. 

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has placed 14 counties in North, Central and Northern Coastal New Jersey under a drought warning due to ongoing precipitation deficits and deteriorating water-supply conditions, particularly storage levels in reservoirs. DEP Commissioner Bob Martin signed an Administrative Order on October 21, 2016 designating the drought warning for Morris, Bergen, Essex , Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren Counties.

Stormwater Runoff

Water from rain and melting snow that flows over lawns, parking lots and streets is known as stormwater runoff. This water, usually untreated, flows or is discharged into local waterbodies.

  Who is involved in stormwater pollution?
Stormwater picks up trash, toxins and other pollution that can kill wildlife, destroy wildlife habitat, contaminate drinking water sources and put the health of swimmers in danger. Human activity is largely responsible for stormwater pollution, each of us has a responsibility to make sure that contaminants stay out of our water.

How can I reduce stormwater pollution?
You can protect our water resources by following these tips:

  • Purchase nonhazardous, biodegradable and phosphorous-free household cleaning products only.
  • Do not over water your lawn and water during cooler times of the day only.
  • Identify pests and use integrated pest management (IPM) methods to minimize chemical use in your garden.
  • Applying fertilizer can lead to nitrate or phosphorus contamination of our water resources.
  • Do not apply nutrients that your soil doesn't need; instead, test your soil first.
  • Use pesticides only if you have a pest, and in that case choose natural products such as milky spore and nematodes.
  • Avoid buying fertilizers containing phosphates because those chock waterways with pollution.
  • Never apply fertilizers if the weather calls for rain.
  • Reduce the need for fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides by planting more ground covers and less grass.
  • Drought-resistant native plants require less fertilizer and less water, reducing the amount of polluted runoff.
  • Pick up after your pet, animal waste contains bacteria harmful to our health.
  • Never discard oil, gas, antifreeze or other unwanted chemicals into the street, sewer or the storm drain. Bring them to a household hazardous waste facility instead.
  • Store hazardous materials properly to prevent spills.
  • Dispose of unwanted medication properly.
  • Do not hose off pavement washes pollutants into storm drains; instead, sweep up dirt and debris and discard in the trash.
  • Avoid washing your car in your driveway, take it to a local car wash to reduce the running off of harmful pollutants.
  • Never throw litter, debris or cigarette butts directly into storm drains or on the streets.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle materials whenever possible to create less waste, which could end up on our streets and contribute to stormwater pollution.
  • Ask your local representatives to enact ordinances to regulate the outdoor application of fertilizer so as to reduce the overall amount of pollutants -such as phosphorus and nitrogen- entering waterways.
For more information visit NJDEP - Clean Water NJ.

Peckman River Cleanup

Verona High School students participated in the annual Peckman River Clean-Up on May 21st. Students were assisted by VHS Vice Principal Dave Galbierczyk, VEC Chairman Jerry Shimonaski and VHS teachers Linda Barone, Jan Korman, Chris Tamburro and Carl Cascone. About half a ton of metal and other debris was removed from the river. All of it was hauled away by the Verona Public Works Department. The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission supplied the VEC with tools, waders, plastic bags and gloves. READ MORE here.

The Peckman River originates in West Orange and flows northeasterly through Verona, Cedar Grove and Little Falls to its confluence with the Passaic River in the borough of Woodland Park (formerly West Paterson).

We organize an annual Peckman River Cleanup and Verona residents are always welcome to participate. Check our calendar for upcoming VEC's events.

Among pictured volunteers, from left: Jerry Shimonaski, Chairman of the VEC, Carrie Dietz, former Area 4 Watershed Ambassador and Mrs. Wojtowicz with her sons. Mr. Bill Wojtowicz is the current President of the Verona Park Conservancy. Visit the Verona Park Conservancy website to learn more about this successful non profit organization and how you can help.  

During the last 2010 river clean-up Verona High School students removed about half a ton of trash. READ MORE HERE.