Site Description

Paper Title :

Someone’s poisoned the water! The issue of contamination in Camden’s drinking water.

Author Biography:

My name is Alex Chang, senior history major at NJIT, and I am writing this environmental justice research paper for my senior research seminar. I became aware of Camden’s water contamination issue as well as the environmental injustice that the city faces in my Urban Cities class. And since I have lived in South Jersey my entire life, I chose Camden as my research site. Aside from living so close to Camden, I have many friends who go to school at Rutgers Camden, as well as friends who live in the city, which are also reasons why I have chose this site as the topic of my research.

Site Description :

The site I chose, Camden NJ, is located in South Jersey and it borders Philadelphia Pennsylvania separated by the Delaware river. I am focuses specifically on the contaminated drinking water in the 1970’s , however the city is also heavily polluted in the air and soil. Camden can be described as very low income city, with a high crime rate perhaps the highest, and the majority of the residence are African American and Hispanic. The drinking water in Camden has been long polluted as a result of industrial facilities dumping heavy metals and hazardous substances into the water source of the city.

Historical Questions :

Why has the government not stepped in, when water contamination was discovered in the 1970’s, and replaced contaminated pipes and clean up the water source?

What kind of damage did the water contamination cause financially to the residents? Was it a lack of financial backing that led Camden to not be cleaned up?

How did the residents of the city affected healthwise due to drinking contaminated water?

Project Significance :

This project is significant because of the continuing environmental injustices that the city faces. The damages that the contaminated water has caused still linger in the pipes of old buildings and water is still unsafe to drink in Camden. This project is significant because it focuses on a low income and minority population, which makes it about environmental racism. This project can help magnify the issues of other low income and minority populations who experienced or are facing the same issues as Camden once did and still does.

Keywords : Race ,Business, Water, African American, Toxics