NJ: 2 officials hid contaminant in city's water

By By DAVID PORTER

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Two top officials at a New Jersey municipal water authority have been indicted on charges they hid elevated levels of a contaminant in the drinking water supply.

The indictment was handed up Tuesday against Harry Mansmann, of Lawrenceville, the executive director of the East Orange Water Commission, and assistant William Mowell (MAO'-uhl), of Wyckoff.

The two are accused of shutting down contaminated wells before monthly water tests to hide elevated levels of tetrachloroethene. The solvent is used for dry cleaning and in other industries and is classified as a probable carcinogen.

The charges include conspiracy, official misconduct and violating state environmental laws.

Mansmann's attorney says his client is innocent and that levels were within federal safety standards at all times. Mowell's attorney declined to comment.

The water authority serves about 90,000 customers.

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