Some residents have been noticing white residue on glasses and dishwashers, others complain of skin rashes—all attributed to increased mineral content in the township's water supply.
While it's not always unusual for such a change in the water in the spring months, when rain runoff adds to local water sources, this year has been noticeably worse, some say.
"Our water has changed for the worse, and we need strength in numbers to make a difference!" the header on a Facebook page devoted to solving the problem says.
"Over the years there has been an increase in the hardness of the water, especially around springtime (May)—this year, there is a very noticeable difference in the water quality over the last six weeks where even the use of a water softener is unable to overcome the greatly increased hardness," Warren resident Alice Lin Yang said in an email.
She said she contacted New Jersey American Water in late-May to check a sample of the water, and was told the hardness level of 380mg per liter of calcium carbonate (the primary cause of water hardness) is within state and federal guidelines for safe drinking water—but is a "concern." Lin Yang said the recommended level of calcium carbonate is 250mg per liter.
New Jersey American Water spokesman Richard Barnes said water hardness is considered an "esthetics" issue, but Lin Yang notes the many problems it's causing Warren residents.
"The hardness has been effecting the dishwashers and faucets causing a chalky residue that is difficult to remove; it has caused itchy rashes of the face and body in others," she said, adding some have told her they replaced dishwashers because they thought something was wrong with the machine.
Lin Yang, a doctor, also said she and others she knows have been having issues with skin rashes that appeared at about the same time this spring.
"The onset of the rashes coincide with the appearance of the white residue from the water," she said.
Barnes said the company generally draws water from surfaces sources, but when temperatures rise and demand increases, the company will supplement the water supplies by drawing on wells, which typically have higher mineral content.
"When demand is not as high, we're able to draw from our surface sources," Barnes said, reducing the calcium carbonate in the water.
He added residents who have water softeners in their homes should check the settings to make sure they are set for a water hardness between 350mg per liter and 400mg per liter. "That's really the best thing to do," he said.
Lin Yang is working to collect infromation from people who have been affected by the increased water hardness, and reports she knows of at least 18, although the Facebook page already has 22 "likes" from people with a goal of collecting 100 to present to the at next week's meeting.
This article was edited to include comments from New Jersey American Water company.