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CAmden Stormwater Heavy-Metal Analysis and mapping Project 

This project will analyze stormwater samples collected by Camden, NJ, residents from flooded basements and yards after heavy rain events. The samples will be analyzed for lead and other heavy metal contaminants (mercury, cadmium, arsenic) to identify potential heavy metal exposure to children and community members. Finally, a GIS-based map will be created to investigate contaminant trends related to land use and socioeconomic variables.

Camden has a rich industrial history, which has resulted in many different types of legacy contaminants deposited in soils around the city. Across the Delaware River in Philadelphia, it has been observed that the concentration of the toxic heavy metal lead (Pb) in the blood of children is correlated with the amount of Pb in the soil where the children live, suggesting that the children of Camden are also at risk for Pb poisoning. Alarmingly, Pb impairs the development of the central nervous system in children, leading to reduced cognitive ability and lower IQ. The situation in Camden is further complicated by the city’s combined sewer and stormwater infrastructure, which commonly floods into neighborhoods, parks, rivers, and creeks after moderate to heavy rain events that are increasing in frequency in the region due to climate change. Of particular concern is contaminated stormwater/sewer overflow flooding into the basements of Camden residents and subsequent human exposure.

Rowan University was awarded a $25,000 grant from the South Jersey Institute for Population Health (SJIPH).

Please contact with any questions.



New Jersey

Introduction to the project + Instructions for participants

How to collet dust sample

How to collect water sample

CASH-MAP project introduction

Please check out the two video instructions - how to collect dust samples and water samples. Also, there is a third video about the project. 

Written instructions to collect dust and water samples >> Dust sampling instructions | Water Sampling Instructions

Prior to a major storm event, we will notify you. Once you collect samples, please contact us so that we can schedule a time to pick up the samples from your home.

Please text Ben Woodward at 856-298-6890. If there are any issues with texting, you may also call the same number.

Please remember to mention your name, address, and callback number.
Alternatively, you can email Dr. Meenar at

Project Team

Mahbubur Meenar, Ph.D. (Lead-PI, Rowan University) 

Thivanka Ariyarathna, Ph.D. (Co-PI, Rowan University)

David Salas de la Cruz, Ph.D. (Co-PI, Rutgers University-Camden)

Community Partner

Shaneka Boucher (Social Responsibility Through Me, Camden)

Research Collaborators

Eli Moore, Ph.D., Research Chemist, U.S. Geological Survey

Jonathan Foglein, Laboratory Technician, Rowan University

Scott Schreiber, Executive Director, Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority

Flooding in Camden
Flooding in Camden by CBS News
Picture by Susan Harris

Read the report "Camden: Rising Above the Floodwaters" by New Jersey Future

Camden flooding pictures. Courtesy: CBS News

Photo: Susan Harris

Courtesy: NJ Future

Major Tasks
Family Using a Tablet_edited.jpg

Recruit Camden residents to collect stormwater samples from flooded basements and yards after heavy rain events


Analyze stormwater samples for lead and other heavy metal contaminants (mercury, cadmium, arsenic) to identify potential heavy metal exposure to children and community members


Create maps of heavy metal concentrations and investigate contaminant trends related to land use, socioeconomic, and public health factors

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